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House histories

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Re: House histories

Postby phsvm » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:37 pm

For a quick look you can always go to street view on google maps.

I've done that quite a few times and for starters it's really useful. You find that families who were quite low social standing lived in what would now be considered beautiful and (especially in London) extremely expensive houses.

We've recently purchased a property in Liverpool for our student daughter which is situated almost opposite the end of Penny Lane (which is not at all like I imagined) and I've put together details of the occupants of the house from the 1911 census. I think the property was built about 1905. I've even managed to find the grave of one of the residents in Toxteth cemetery, just down the road and found photos of the end of the street during the bombing of Liverpool docks during the war. it explains why the houses at the end of our street are so different in age from the rest of the properties.
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Re: House histories

Postby Victor Nutt » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:59 pm

Have a look at the comments on "Should local archives remain LOCAL".

I recently did some research on the history of my house under the guidance of Bexley Archaeological Group(BAG) and needed local archives for much of my findings. What did I find?

My house was built in 1954. Yes, I do mean 1954. The question I was asked by BAG was, "Ah, but what was there before?"

I found people buying and selling land for profit in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so nothing new there then! I also found a man called John Smith! Believe it or not he was very easy to trace because he was an MP, as were his five brothers, (one was foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington) along with many of his forebears and descendants. He was a local land owner and Lord of the Manor. He became very much richer when Bexleyheath Enclosure Act came into force in 1819, but he was a good man, anti slavery and a poor peoples' champion, amoungst other redeeming attributes. One of his descendants married into the Bowes-Lyon family. If you don't know your recent history, the Queen Mother was of the same family! The Smith family were bankers. In fact they started the very first regional bank in Britain, in Nottingham in 1658. After several take-overs and mergers Smiths bank has become NAT-WEST! Previous owners of John Smith's Manor and land had been instigators of the South Sea Bubble that nearly toppled the Monarchy in the early 1700s. The one brilliant fact I have almost certainly uncovered is, where did my street name come from? No-one could give me the answer but research has come up with a very plausible answer. The man who laid out the estate called my road, Izane Road. He did this in 1895. He married his second wife in 1894. Her name was Eliza Jane. What do you think?

It just goes to show, you don't need an old house to find interesting facts concerning local and house histories as well as national and international connections. BUT, you do need LOCAL archives to discover some of the more obscure facts.

The book containing my chapter and those of the other participants in the BAG "house histories" project will be published on 14th December and we are having a book launch party!
Victor Nutt
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Re: House histories

Postby Victor Nutt » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:13 pm

Thanks to everyone for viewing this post. It would be really good if you would all leave a message, you must have been interested in the subject matter. I'm really intrigued to know why you have viewed this, for whatever reason, but then not commented. To be fair, this applies to every posting I suppose.
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Re: House histories

Postby Twincol » Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:16 pm

You might also explore the British Listed Buildings website, the url which I cannot seem to be able to include here. Google the name and you will have no difficulty locating it. Enjoy!

The site includes properties in England, Scotland and Wales. The properties on the site are those which are noted by "Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest" and are, ummmmm, 'elderly' properties in their communities, many with significant histories. I searched throughout my family's town, Cirencester, and found their home by name, not address. As noted in an earlier message, there was a change of address by history. The name was identified by the business in which the family was involved 'Woolgatherers', and known in their community by that name. I uploaded a photo of mine and asked Colin West, a photographer touring and photographing much of England, to upload several of his, as well.

If your family lived in an older building you might find it here after some trolling about your community.

Oh, and BTW, when visiting Cirencester while traveling about England as an American citizen touring the British origins of her ancestors, the owner lovingly walked me and my 80+ YO mother about the property, including the interior of the house. My mother's father was born there and the family had lived there since the early 1800's. I'm still looking for the family's earlier geographical origins.

Good luck!
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Re: House histories

Postby irishstreetlad » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:10 am

Another way to find out when the house was built is to look for the drainage records which would usually be kept at the local library archives.

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Re: House histories

Postby paulcwillis » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:25 pm

When we moved into a terraced house in St John's Terrace, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire a few years ago I decided to research the previous occupants of the property. I only used the usual genealogy tools - UK Census, BMD etc.

I discovered quite a story!

In 1882 the new Parish of St. John the Divine, Gainsborough was formed from the Southern half of the Parish of Holy Trinity.

Plans for the church were drawn up by Mr Somers Clarke Jnr and Mr Mickelthwaite, Builders in 1884 by The church is an austere, large redbrick building, apparently designed to have a tower that was never built. It had attached to it a school that closed during the mid-1970s and a clergy house "Vigilans" to house a company of celibate priests. The interior of the Church was long, spacious with tall arcades, and featured a statue of St. John originally made for an exhibition in Chicago. The building is now Grade C listed (equivalent to Grade II).

St John's Terrace – which looks out onto the side of the church building - was constructed around the same time as the Parish was created and the church built.


The street is first mentioned in the 1891 Census. However, the entry for no 5 reads 'out on Census day' so basically there was nobody in!

1901 Census - this 3-bedroomed mid-terrace house was residence to the Rusling family. Head of the household was Charles Rusling (born 1848), a 53-year old, and ‘Living on his own means’; with him were his wife Annie (born 1855) and her three (possibly illegitimate) children.

1911 Census - the Ruslings had moved on and the property was occupied by the Welbourne family. Percival Welbourne (born 1879) was a 32yr old boiler riveter and his wife Ethel was 28. They had been married seven years and had two children: Ivy aged 6 and Samuel, 2.

The RUSLING family

Charles Rusling was born in 1848 in West Stockwith, a few miles north of Gainsborough. His parents were William (a horse broker) and Charlotte. It appears from the Census returns that Charles lived at home until at least the age of 23, when his occupation was described as 'Labourer at Chemical Works'.

In 1875 Charles married Elizabeth Hunt*, and in the 1881 Census they were living in West Stockwith, but in Town Street at a separate address from Charles' family. Sadly Elizabeth died in 1889, leaving no children. She was aged just 39 years old.

George married Elizabeth’s sister, Annie Hunt*, in Gainsborough in early 1891. Under the Marriage Act of 1835 this would have been illegal and, it seems, by the period in question was a contentious issue. There are many references in The Times newspaper from 1849 onwards to attempts to change the law in this respect, all of which were defeated until the Deceased's Wife's Sister's Marriage Act was passed in 1907.

Annie already had three children (seemingly illegitimate as they all have the Hunt surname). These were George (born 1877), Ethel (born 1879) and Florence (born 1885). In the 1891 Census Charles, Annie and her daughter Ethel were lodging at 15 Lea Road in Gainsborough with William Cox (a grocer), his wife Sarah and their 18-year old daughter Gertrude.

By this time Charles Rusling's occupation is described as 'Iron Turner'.By the time the 1901 Census was taken, Charles and the family were living at number 5, St John’s Terrace in Gainsborough. As well as he and Annie, there were her three children:-

- George Hunt (b1877), aged 24, an Engraver's Labourer
- Ethel Hunt (b1879), aged 22, a Domestic General Servant
- Florence Hunt (1885), aged 16, a Dress Maker

In addition to the family, the Ruslings had two boarders living with them, Arthur Winter (42) - an Engine Tester, and Charles Titmarsh (22) - a ‘Machine Minder’.

Ten years later, in the 1911 Census, Charles -now 63 and a Time Keeper at an engineering works - and his wife Annie (55) had been married for twenty years. They were living in Misterton, a village about 7 miles from Gainsborough. Living with them were their granddaughter, Hilda Winter (aged 4) and a boarder, 71-year old pensioner Dinah Dawson. Little Hilda was the daughter of Charles’ step-daughter Ethel Hunt and Arthur Winter, their lodger in the 1901 Census. When they married in the autumn of 1903 Ethel was 24 and Arthur was 44!

The WELBOURNE family

Percival Welbourne was born in Gainsborough in 1879, the son of James Welbourne (a ‘steel turner’ by trade) and his wife Fanny. The 1881 Census has the family residing at 20 Gibbons Square in Gainsborough. Ten years on, the 1891 Census shows the family (still with just one child) were living at 14 High Street in Gainsborough. Percy's father was an 'lron Turner', but his mother, Fanny, is not listed, Instead there is a housekeeper, Emma Stothert, aged 35, and what can only be assumed to be her children (listed as boarders): Willie (6), Nelly (1) and Albert (1 month), as well as two other people.

The 1901 Census reveals that Percy's father, James, married the housekeeper, Emma, and they had a two-year-old son between them, named Sydney. Also in the household were Percy (aged 22), Willie (16), Nellie (11) and Albert (10) (all three of Emma's children seeing to have taken the Welbourne surname). The whole family were living at 29 Marlborough Street in Gainsborough.

In the autumn of 1903 Percy married Ethel Cook in Gainsborough.

The 1911 Census shows Percival Welbourne, now listed as a 32yr old boiler riveter and his wife Ethel, 28. They had two children Ivy aged 6 and Samuel James, aged 2.

In 1927 Percy and Ethel’s daughter, Ivy, married John Hunter in Gainsborough.*

The HUNT family

According to Census information Elizabeth was born in 1850 in the hamlet of Rockley in Nottinghamshire. Annie was born five years later in Elkesley, also in Nottinghamshire. Their parents were George Hunt, an agricultural labourer (bornin 1809) and Charlotte (born in 1811). I haven’t been able to trace Elizabeth in the 1871 Census convincingly, but as she would be about 21 it is likely she was employed as a domestic servant.
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