Apr 252015
 

You don't just have to visit your place in person, you know. While we highly recommend physically visiting your one-place study place (we even made a one-hour video about doing just that) there are plenty of other ways to visit.

Visiting in space - has the Google Street View car made it to your place yet? See what you can see online from the comfort of your own home. Once you've seen all you can see with your feet (well, the Street View car's wheels) on the ground, jump into Google Earth’s satellite views for an overhead perspective.

Visiting in time – you never quite know what you'll find on YouTube and perhaps you’ll find some old video footage of your place. British Pathe and the US Library of Congress's American Memory are great repositories of historic clips.

Visiting in literature – there may be works of fiction set in your place. In some ways it's better if these are not set in your exact place so you don't run the risk of getting attached to flights of fancy as potential facts (beware of dodgy historical research or simple creative licence), but novels or stories set in the region of your one-place study will certainly evoke a sense of the place. See what's listed at http://www.historicalnovels.info/. Also, were there any authors who spent time living in your place or thereabouts? Their works may well make an interesting read whether explicitly set there or not.

Visiting in non-fiction – seek out old travelogues that pass through your place. For the UK, the Highways and Byways series from the turn of the century (that’s the turn of the 19th century into the 20th) make interesting reading. Roughly a century earlier, the Magna Britannia (unfortunately only covering nine counties before publication ceased) is an example of a topographical history that talks about each place included in a lot of detail. Hit up your favourite second-hand bookshops or online sources of digitised old books to see what contemporary (at the time!) visits to your place you can find. My best find for my one-place study? Recollections of Old Country Life by JK Fowler, published in 1894 - an interesting read particularly for Buckinghamshire one-place studiers, this book includes details of a murder that, while neither the place or family is explicitly named, was most definitely in my place. It includes gossip, allegations and additional information that helped my understanding of this event.

Alex Coles

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