The last 30 years have seen a huge growth of interest in local and family history both as a subject for the general enthusiast and as an area of academic study. With over 2000 entries, this "Companion" provides detailed summaries of the latest knowledge in such fields as social, urban, agricultural, legal, family, and ecclesiastical history. Covering a broad canvas, from prehistory to the present day, and taking in the whole of the British Isles, the "Companion" paints a picture of rural and urban life. There are entries on activities from bear-baiting and Morris dancing to aerial photography and the use of computers. Individuals included range from historians, writers, and social commentators, to mapmakers, antiquarians, and architects. Institutions and organizations include the Armed Forces, manors, trades unions, Methodists, and the British Library. Cells and cellars combine with entries on cider and cinemas, emigration and employment, foxhunting and framework knitting to provide a compendium of detailed information and advice. An appendix at the back of the book lists national and major county record offices along with special collections of national interest.