Local History: student stories | Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) skip to content

Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


Johanna Purser

  • Course: Undergraduate Diploma in Local History
  • Enrolled: 2011–2012

I have a degree in business and economics from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (BA Honours gained in 2002) and my current post is Research Grants Officer for the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge located in the Cavendish Laboratory at West Cambridge.

My interest in history started with a module that I studied at Anglia Ruskin which involved some research concerning Robert Owen, the New Lanark cotton mill owner and philanthropist. After completing my degree I studied a foundation course in family history with the OU, joined the National Trust and English Heritage, and started attending the talks given by local history societies in the town where I live.

I subsequently enrolled on the ICE Diploma course in order to broaden my experience of local/regional history and also to give me a more solid base of historiography.

My experience of studying with ICE has been a very happy and fruitful one. Madingley Hall and its beautiful grounds provide just the right atmosphere for study and the facilities provided are excellent.

The modules were very varied in content from the medieval town to religious dissent in Georgian and Victorian England, and they were structured very concisely which is very useful for someone with a limited historical background ... The modules were very well presented in a clear and unambiguous way, and the end-of-module assessment by essay and assignment was pitched at just the right level.

Needless to say, the staff at Madingley Hall are kind, helpful and efficient and are always there if you have a problem or query.

My studies in local history have given me a deeper understanding of history in general and also instilled in me a different way of thinking about people who lived in past times. Placing yourself in other people’s shoes and thinking deeply about their lives can provide you with a different aspect in considering people in today’s world. I have also enjoyed meeting other people who are interested in history and the camaraderie and class discussion amongst my peers and with the lecturers is most enjoyable, and challenging, as you would expect.

Any questions?

Sign up for email alerts

By signing up to our mailing list we will email you occasionally to keep you up-to-date with courses, events and other activities here at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

Sign up now »

You can unsubscribe at any time. See our privacy notice for more information on how we take care of your data.