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researching history of house


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#1 RachelF

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 08:37 AM

I would like to find out when my house was built. I have as much information as the land regisrty office will let me have (not much, although it has given me some hints.)Does anyone now where I should go to find out? Would local libraries have this information? It's tricky because it's literally metres over the border from Lewisham into Bromley. It would have been Kent when it was built (people have suggested dates that range from 1905-1930)

Also I was wondering if there are any good sources of old photos of Lower Sydenham. I have looked at the Ieal Homes site. I suppose it would be too much to hope for something as good as the Lambeth on line archive photo site which is amazing. I am beginning to realize how comparatively good Lambeth is at various things! (Believe it or not.) I imagine Bromley and Lewisham have archive libraries. Has anyone used them?

Any help would be appreciated.
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#2 St. Lukes Railings

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:47 AM

I would like to find out when my house was built. I have as much information as the land regisrty office will let me have (not much, although it has given me some hints.)Does anyone now where I should go to find out? Would local libraries have this information? It's tricky because it's literally metres over the border from Lewisham into Bromley. It would have been Kent when it was built (people have suggested dates that range from 1905-1930)

Also I was wondering if there are any good sources of old photos of Lower Sydenham. I have looked at the Ieal Homes site. I suppose it would be too much to hope for something as good as the Lambeth on line archive photo site which is amazing. I am beginning to realize how comparatively good Lambeth is at various things! (Believe it or not.) I imagine Bromley and Lewisham have archive libraries. Has anyone used them?

Any help would be appreciated.

Hi RachelF

I used to work for the Valuation Office, valuing houses and putting them into Council Tax bands (yeah i know, boo hiss). Anyway, we held records of every dwelling in the UK. Rateable values, square footage, number of rooms etc. Also the exact date of build of every house. From memory there is a Valuation Office in Bromley so you could contact them. I used to get queries like this from time to time and had no qualms in giving the information over the phone, so give Bromley VOA (Valuation Office Agency) a try.

#3 NickJ

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 11:48 AM

We found out the dates of our current home and our last one from the solicitor who carried out the conveyancing, as it was in the freehold documents. The last one, in Leeds, was built in 1853 and the solicitor gave us a wonderful document, one long sentence over several close-typed pages, covering all the restrictive covenants. From that we learnt that we were not allowed to run a blacksmith's, operate a fairground or boil blood on the premises.

Bromley has an excellent local studies library at its central library, and I'm sure they'd love to help you with your research.

#4 Sandi

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 12:45 AM

Back in the 90s, I researched the history of my house at the local studies section of the main Bromley library. I was able to find out the names of the people who lived there, etc. Fascinating--especially for someone as chronically nosy as me!

#5 RachelF

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 02:36 PM

Thanks very much, everyone. I shall try Bromley.

I coudn't find the house on the 1911 census, which would have given me info re the previous owners and their occupations. Our neighbour thinks it was pre-1911. They might have changed the house numbers I suppose.

It has a lot of 'original features' so I suppose a start might be to get a book on early 20th domestic architecture. It has an electric bell system for a servant/maid (which alas has been painted over.) so that gives one some idea I suppose. But that have been an add on. I doubt they would have had live in servants. It's not that big!
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#6 Acharn

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 08:50 AM

The house I was brought up in in St. Hughs Rd. had an inscription on the mantle of the bay window which read 'Freeman's Office'. Can anybody throw any light on this. I notice one of Charlie's photographs (126.jpg) has the name H. Scott Freeman. All I can find is a reference to one John Fredrick Freeman - Georgian poet. There is a legal/insrance connection with the name but seems to go nowhere.

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#7 Chris Doran

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 05:31 PM

James Henry Freeman is shown as a house agent at 96 St Hugh's Rd in directories to hand from 1891 to 1902.

The 1891 census, however, says he's a caretaker aged 56 with 41-year-old wife Hannah. In the 1901 census he (if it's the same James Freeman) is a house agent aged 70 with a new 41-year-old wife Susan M and 8-year-old daughter Agnes.

#8 Acharn

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 04:40 AM

Chris, Thank you very much for tha information. It has part way solved a long term puzzle for me. Much appreciated, thanks.

Regards

Acharn

#9 adl999

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:29 AM

Hi All,

My mother has been researching our family history and has traced our ancestors back to about 1600 - it took her 10+ years! I bought a flat in a converted Victorian house on Marlow Rd a few years ago and recently was taken by the history bug to research my home.

The Census records are quite good - I tracked my house down in the 1911 census and from that found the family had been previously registered at No's 2 (1881), 19 (1891) and 125 (1901) in previous censuses. I think the house numbering changed a bit during the early years, but looking at old maps (old-maps.co.uk) and counting houses of a similar style using Google Maps, I suspect they moved here between 1901 and 1911 as I cannot see how this house could have been numbered 2 / 19 / 125 (it is the 3rd in a row of 12 same style buildings) and my house number is listed as uninhabited as of 1891 (not found it yet in 1901). I have however found the death record of the original owner - he died in 1939 aged 90 and was still at this address, although had been admitted to Oatlands care home (Anerley Rd) a few weeks before.

The ever changing county / parish / borough boundaries around this area make it difficult to find what you are looking for - you can find a lead on your street then it disappears and you don't know where to restart!

#10 Dazza

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:10 AM

A while ago my friend did the same thing found out a previous owner killed his wife in their main bedroom abot 50 years earlier ! They moved soon after this information on demand by his wife who could no longer sleep in the room !

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#11 Abu Nuwas

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:37 AM

Hi All,

My mother has been researching our family history and has traced our ancestors back to about 1600 - it took her 10+ years! I bought a flat in a converted Victorian house on Marlow Rd a few years ago and recently was taken by the history bug to research my home.

The Census records are quite good - I tracked my house down in the 1911 census and from that found the family had been previously registered at No's 2 (1881), 19 (1891) and 125 (1901) in previous censuses. I think the house numbering changed a bit during the early years, but looking at old maps (old-maps.co.uk) and counting houses of a similar style using Google Maps, I suspect they moved here between 1901 and 1911 as I cannot see how this house could have been numbered 2 / 19 / 125 (it is the 3rd in a row of 12 same style buildings) and my house number is listed as uninhabited as of 1891 (not found it yet in 1901). I have however found the death record of the original owner - he died in 1939 aged 90 and was still at this address, although had been admitted to Oatlands care home (Anerley Rd) a few weeks before.

The ever changing county / parish / borough boundaries around this area make it difficult to find what you are looking for - you can find a lead on your street then it disappears and you don't know where to restart!

I much admire your mum's patience and persistence!  I think sometimes people find it hard to know when to stop.

 

My own house, I found, was a very busy place: the Master of the house was a Coach-builder, then there were two teachers. and a few others. 

 

I have a feeling that there was a whole lot of renting going on, and that it was as nothing to move, a road away, or a few doors down. I know that happened in my father's family, in the late 1880s. The Deeds can beuseful, and would be-- but frequently, conveyancers, having hit upon their 'root of title' are given to placing the the remaining deeds into a bundle of old deeds which then gets lost, or thrown away. If you are in a flat, it can be that the other owner has this, or the freeholder, if it is leasehold.



#12 NickJ

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

 

I have a feeling that there was a whole lot of renting going on, and that it was as nothing to move, a road away, or a few doors down.

 

Exactly - we recently visited the newly-refurbished Dickens Museum in his old house in Doughty Street (highly recommended), and learnt that although Dickens lived in many homes during his life and became massively wealthy, he only ever owned one house - Gad's Hill, where he died.

 

It seems that most Victorians took out short-term leases on houses and, depending on the ebb or flow of the family finances, they would pile up their possessions on a cart and move on to either a smaller or grander new home.



#13 Abu Nuwas

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:37 PM

Exactly - we recently visited the newly-refurbished Dickens Museum in his old house in Doughty Street (highly recommended), and learnt that although Dickens lived in many homes during his life and became massively wealthy, he only ever owned one house - Gad's Hill, where he died.

 

It seems that most Victorians took out short-term leases on houses and, depending on the ebb or flow of the family finances, they would pile up their possessions on a cart and move on to either a smaller or grander new home.

It was a common phrase: 'We took a villa', and my grand-parents on both sides seem to have done a great deal of it. Perhaps it had to do with an expanding and mobile society. The near moves enabled people to 'improve' themselves, whilst maintaining community links. I wonder if it ties in with the idea of ''home''. Many years ago, I recall people speaking about their ''home'' without refererring to some property. They meant the furniture and effects. It was v odd, and has faded completely now, I suppose.

 

I used to spend time in Doughty St as a member of the Egyptologoical Society. V nice part.



#14 Nanazola

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

That's an interesting concept of 'home', Abu Nuwas, and one I haven't heard before. It may be well be revived, as property ownership drifts out of reach for the average earner.

 

Cue a rash of telly programmes on how to make your rented space - or childhood bedroom - your own.  Estate agents will need to come up with an appealing language for this new economic world order too. A 'Home is Where the Heart Is', or Hi-Whi home. Oh yes!



#15 Abu Nuwas

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 10:36 PM

That's an interesting concept of 'home', Abu Nuwas, and one I haven't heard before. It may be well be revived, as property ownership drifts out of reach for the average earner.

 

Cue a rash of telly programmes on how to make your rented space - or childhood bedroom - your own.  Estate agents will need to come up with an appealing language for this new economic world order too. A 'Home is Where the Heart Is', or Hi-Whi home. Oh yes!

Think of the snobbery between the garden-shed dwellers, and the Snug Home (or bedroom)!