Historical research at Archistory is carried out by Paul Murray. After the site visit and discussion regarding the architectural process, Paul may contact the client by phone and conduct a more detailed house history interview.
Some owners often have several documents relating to the history of their house, and even snippets of oral history that can prove fascinating. Important though these are to us, they rarely provide enough information for a satisfactory history.
The normal pattern of research involves Paul visiting local archive offices, libraries, and museums. He may also have to contact the local Council for details of previous planning records. Data is also gathered from special online databases as well as from the National Archives’ Census records, all in order to produce as detailed an account as possible.
Any copies of personal legal documents, whether active or simply historical, will always be handled in the strictest confidence and only used specifically as the owner allows.
Writing the story
We usually begin with a short outline of how the area grew up, probably from a rural beginning. We talk about the construction of the house, the architectural style and the building techniques used. We also like to mention a little about the general layout of the house and any notable or unusual design features.
In some cases it may be interesting to direct the narrative towards subjects linked to the history of the house, such as the career of the architect responsible for the building, or other points of local interest. We will normally include selected details of the previous owners’ social history, professions, family relationships, domestic servants and places of birth.
The final paragraph always relates to the present owners, and any personal information about their time in the property or their family can be included.