Centre for English Local History – Marc Fitch House
In my first update to the Friends I have sadly to give some bad news. Marc Fitch House at 5 Salisbury Road, Leicester has long been the home of the Centre and many of us will know it well having studied there as well as attending lectures and seminars over the years. Unfortunately, the university has decided to sell the building and to relocate the Centre to the Attenborough Tower on the main campus. The Centre is scheduled to leave Marc Fitch House by the start of July 2020.
This has come as a shock to staff and students as well as the Friends and there was no consultation or discussion prior to the announcement on 5th February. Inevitably this sudden move will be very disruptive to teaching and to the research carried out in the building. We have asked to see the rationale behind the decision and the analysis to show how any benefits from the move will outweigh the potential damage to the academic reputation of the university.
In his reply to our letter the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, has made several important commitments to the Centre and to providing appropriate facilities on the main campus.
First, I would like to reassure you that the sale of Marc Fitch House should not be seen as a threat to the future of the Centre for English Local History. It is our intention to create a coherent new space for the Centre within the Attenborough Building, which will include a resource centre to house the Marc Fitch Collection and maps. The activities that currently take place on Salisbury Road will be able to continue – and staff and students will also be able to benefit from being on our central campus and being part of the wider academic community.
We look forward to seeing how these can be delivered by the university and the future of the Centre assured. Please share your thoughts, feelings and any ideas with us on our new social media sites.
Meanwhile, the work of the Centre and the Friends continues – on Saturday 21st March 2020 we will be holding the Spotlight Conference in the Museum Studies building on University Road. It is an opportunity to see some of the research carried out by academics and graduates from the Centre as well as hear our guest speaker, Dr Ian West. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the event. Hopefully, you will have received an email with booking details otherwise they are available on the website and on social media.
Dr Michael Gilbert (Chair of the Friends of the Centre for English Local History)