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House history searches

Finding out about the history of your house and who lived in it is exciting! However, research can be a complex (and time consuming) process.

House history research splits into two main areas; the ownership and occupation of your property and the history of building itself and its location.

You can focus either on finding out about the people who lived in the house, or we can help you to find out the approximate age of the building – the sources referring to occupants can often be useful for both strands. Obtaining a precise construction date is often impossible since old buildings have been continually altered and where there are relevant documentary sources they rarely give a precise date of construction.

Often the stories of who lived there, their occupations and household members can give the most satisfying results in property research.

If you ask us to carry out research into your house, we will initially provide you with a summary of the development of the immediate locality and a copy of the earliest Ordnance Survey map showing the property. We will then summarise the sources available at Shropshire Archives which will be relevant to your specific request and an outline of the likely time required to complete a full history. This summary will be undertaken within the first hour’s research after which our researcher will contact you to advise on progress, describe the sources available dependant on the age and location of your property and check how you wish to proceed.

After the second hour’s research, we will provide either:

  • a summary of the occupancy of the property based on sources (where applicable) such as the 1841-1911 Censuses, local street and electoral directories, tax records etc.
  • or basic copies of a selection of 19thC and 20thC maps and historic photographs and, where available, Land Tax, Tithe Map and others plus pointers for future research.
  • in either case, a list of sources consulted will be provided, and you will be advised of any original maps, plans or other documents which you may wish to have reproduced by our reprographics department.

The research will obviously be tailored to your property as the appropriate sources will depend on its age and location and also whether you are interested in the inhabitants or the property itself or both.

If after the initial hour’s research, when you have received an outline of the relevant sources held at Shropshire Archives, you wish to visit and view these sources yourself, you can arrange for the second hour’s fee to be spent with the researcher on a one to one basis.

Costs: £40 an hour – two hour minimum.

Timescale: There is an approx 6 week waiting list for this service.

Further information: Email us or use the online form to request a house history search. Please give the address/postcode of your property and our researcher will get back to you and confirm timescales. You will need to register on our website to use the online form.

House history courses

Courses are also run periodically for beginners in researching their own house history. Contact Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery if you’d like to be added to a waiting list for the next course: museumeducation@shropshire.gov.uk