The article discusses certain themes, concerns, and debates which have pre-occupied historians of North-East England since the 1960s. In the first place, it questions whether there has been during the modern period a 'North-East' identity and argues that other identities and associations may have been at least as important: the Border counties, the four northern counties, and individual counties. It then considers the influence of new interpretations and periodizations of English history on historians of the area and the degree to which the focus on cultural and social history has altered perceptions of the history of the North-East. It concludes that a two-way traffic between work on national history and work on regional and local history has been mutually beneficial and that recent work by historians of the North-East exemplifies this. If there is a danger that research on the North-East, as on other areas or regions, can become exclusively a search for variations from the national history, work since the 1960s has produced a more nuanced history of the area which has contributed to a more sophisticated national history.