The history of a house: thank goodness that people wrote things down

I’ve recently purchased a terraced house in a town close to where I live.  It’s not for me – it is a place that I am having done up, with a view to selling it on.

What has fascinated me is that, along with the house, I also seem to have purchased a history of the house, complete with deeds, historic data, pictures, notes, etc, etc.

To say this makes quite an interesting story is an understatement and once again makes me so glad that in the past things were written down, rather than just put onto computer disk.

The documents I have just spent the weekend reading reveal that the house was built in 1885 (earlier than I thought and earlier than revealed by a date stone in the front wall, which is odd).

It was owned by a co-operative trust for a while before a lady bought the house and moved in.  The lady was married but there is no note about her husband in the paperwork so I suspect he may have died and she has inherited his estate – but perhaps without enough money to afford to stay in the family home.

From this image one might at first imagine a widow living off her departed husband’s legacy, perhaps even struggling to get by, and yet it seems that over time the lady flourished.

Within a few years a new set of terrace houses was built, and indeed it seems the street was named after her.  Of course, that might be a coincidence, but there are details of a company that the lady formed which itself seemed to be involved in further property development in the area.

It turns out she was also involved in landscaping not only the garden of the house she had bought, but also setting out designs for the gardens of other houses.  She even, it seems, tried to take over a small Victorian cemetery and turn it into a garden to provide rest and respite for those walking by.

It is a fascinating story and one which, as I say, might have been lost if the details were just recorded on disk.  Not just because the computer system might have failed or been corrupted by a virus, but also because files are just files. They don’t have the attractive quality of ancient scrolls and deeds printed on paper.

I will, of course, look after these wonderful documents very carefully and pass them on to the new owner after we have done up the house and restored it to something of its former glory.

I can only be grateful that these documents were stored in suitable premises. And it reminds me, if ever I needed reminding that paper, and the proper storage of paper, is as important today as it ever was.

If you would like to know more about our storage facility there is more information on our website – or call us on 0800 783 9516.

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