The revival of the Victoria History of Middlesex in 1955 is described in the
Editorial Note to Volume III. The arrangements there explained, by which
the Local Authorities in the administrative county of Middlesex, the London
County Council, and the Middlesex Local History Council came to collaborate
with the University of London to continue the History of the county, have in
principle remained unaltered. Under the London Government Act (1963),
however, the former participating Authorities have since 1965 been grouped
together and have mostly assumed new names. The University of London
records again its true appreciation of the generous grants made by the Authorities. In 1965 the Middlesex Local History Council was fused with the London
and Middlesex Archaeological Society. The present constituents of the Middlesex Victoria County History Council are set out below.
Sir Archer Hoare, C.B.E., resigned from the chairmanship of the lastnamed Council in 1963 and was replaced by Mr. R. M. Robbins. Several changes
have also occurred in the editorial staff. In 1963 Mr. H. P. F. King resigned the
office of Local Editor and was replaced in 1964 by Dr. K. G. T. McDonnell,
a Lecturer in History at Queen Mary College, University of London, who was
temporarily seconded for the purpose. On Dr. McDonnell's return to the
College in 1966, Mr. J. S. Cockburn, who had been appointed Assistant Local
Editor in 1961 on the resignation of Mrs. Gillian R. Wyld and advanced to
Senior Assistant Local Editor in 1964, replaced him as Acting Local Editor.
Mr. Cockburn resigned in 1967 and was succeeded by Mr. T. F. T. Baker.
Mr. D. C. Yaxley, appointed an Assistant Local Editor in 1962, resigned in
1964 and was succeeded by Miss Diane K. Bolton in 1965. All these Local
Editors and their Assistants have in one way or another played their part in the
preparation of the present volume, as has Miss Susan Reynolds, a former Local
This is the third volume to be published in the Middlesex set, and completes
the 'general' chapters for the county. These conform to a plan framed in 1955
by a Sub-Committee of the Victoria County History Committee of the Institute
of Historical Research. The plan provided for the exclusion of nearly all the
articles on natural history of the kind formerly inserted in the series and for
the omission of any general study of ecclesiastical history. It seemed doubtful
to the Sub-Committee whether the ecclesiastical history of the county could
be fairly written until the history of religion in each parish had been examined.
The structure and aims of the Victoria History series as a whole are outlined in
an article published in the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, Volume
XL (No. 101, May 1967).
In the early years of the century a decision was taken to separate the history
of London from the history of Middlesex and to provide a separate set of
volumes for each. On the title-page of the Victoria History of London, Volume I,
published in 1909, 'London' is said to include 'London within the Bars, Westminster, and Southwark'; in the Preface it is called 'the district within the Bars
of London, the borough of Southwark, and the ancient parish of Westminster'.
It must be noted that the Editorial Note in the Victoria History of Middlesex,
Volume II, published in 1911, contains no definition of the area of Middlesex.
The definitions in London, Volume I, are confusing because the word 'Westminster' has borne different meanings at different times and the 'ancient parish
of Westminster' has no precise meaning at all. Whether the plan was to interpret
'Westminster' in a wide or a narrow sense can now hardly be known with
certainty. In any case no one meaning seems to have been consistently adhered
to in London, Volume I. This has created certain difficulties for the compilers
of the present volume and has suggested the advantage of marking on the maps
the boundaries of the City and the Liberties of Westminster as they were in
The volume has profited much from the co-operation of scholars not actually
engaged in its compilation. Particular thanks are due to Professor W. F. Grimes,
C.B.E., under whose superintendence the archaeological articles were prepared,
to Dr. D. B. Harden, O.B.E., who made available the services of his staff at the
London Museum, to Miss Barbara Harvey, who advised on the lands of Westminster Abbey, to Professor A. V. Judges, who greatly helped with the planning
of the articles on education, and to Miss E. D. Mercer, formerly Middlesex
County Archivist and now Archivist to the Greater London Council. The kindness of many others who supplied information or gave access to documents is
also gratefully remembered.