The English Civil War is the central theme of this issue – chosen to coincide with the opening of the new national Civil War Museum at Newark. Charles I always recognised this strategic importance of the region; it was in Nottingham that he chose to raise his standard on 22 August 1642. Bloody sieges followed, particularly at Newark, but also at Bolingbroke and Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Nottingham, Lincoln, Gainsborough became ‘frontier towns’, decisive engagements were fought at Naseby, Winceby and Willoughby on the Wolds. The East Midlands became the gateway through which rival armies passed; to deny access became a chief objective for both sides. War brought disease, treachery and heroism. Its social costs were high; its legacy in terms of destruction, disruption and disability was far reaching.