Pat Heron, 2010

People get into local history by devious routes. Mine went through a modern languages degree, a PhD in linguistics, teaching and trade unionism. A part-time, post-retirement library job took me to Redbridge Local Studies & Archives, where my very knowledgeable colleagues showed me how fascinating this form of detective work can be.

I particularly like to work on the late 1800s/early1900s: plenty of surviving documents (always useful), great social mobility, a ferment of political and social ideas, buildings where it all happened still around… and I was lucky enough to know my two grandmothers and one grandfather, for whom this time was their youth.

No-one writes history without a perspective, and mine is unashamedly left wing. There is huge scope in local history for unearthing the proud achievements of working people, and I would encourage anyone who feels the interest to get digging.

Finally, thank you, Merrick and my dear daughter, Alice, without whom all this would never have seen daylight.

– Pat Heron, December 2010