Period Property UK
Discussion forum with useful advice on restoring old properties
Finding out the history of your house can be fascinating. Most old houses have been added to and changed over the years, and few houses retain all their original features. Discovering the history of your house can also provide an insight into the lives of the owners. When looking at the different evidence for how old your house is, don't take everything on face value. Georgian windows may have been replaced by Victorian ones, a new facade may have been added, and even dates inscribed in stone on the house may not be original.
It can be fascinating to find out the history of your house. There are lots of free resources. Look at all the evidence for the age of your house and balance out different aspects to find a likely date when your house was built.
The first stop to find out the age of your house in the UK is probably to look at the title deeds. If you have a mortgage then these will normally be held by your mortgage provider or bank, who may make a charge for letting you see them!
Very often old maps can give you some clue as the age of your house. Nineteenth Century Ordnance Survey Maps can be viewed free at Old Maps using your postcode.
You can also visit your local library or local records office for local old maps.
It's always possible that your neighbours may have some helpful information about your house history, particularly if the style of their house is the same as yours. Even the names of local roads can help if they were named for significant historical or local events or people.
All of these can be relevant. Whether the building has casement or sash windows, whether or not it has a damp proof course, whether it has been plastered with gypsum or lime can all give an indication of your house history.
Some census records and local Kelly's directories are available free online. These may be particularly helpful if your house was used to run a business or was owned by someone of local importance. They may also be available at your local library. More on Censuses
People may need to find when their house was constructed for a number of reasons. It could be for buildings insurance purposes or could just be that they are interested in the history of the house they now live in.