Unlock your home’s secrets during house history workshop

Ivan Bunn from Lowestoft record office is set to run a workshop on how to discover the hisory of you

Ivan Bunn from Lowestoft record office is set to run a workshop on how to discover the hisory of your house. Ivan with Deeds and legal documents from historic house sales in Lowstoft. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

If the walls of your house could talk they would probably have a few stories to tell about long-gone residents and the building's previous uses.

Ivan Bunn from Lowestoft record office is set to run a workshop on how to discover the hisory of you

Ivan Bunn from Lowestoft record office is set to run a workshop on how to discover the hisory of your house. Ivan with Deeds and legal documents from historic house sales in Lowstoft. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

An upcoming workshop at Suffolk Record Office in Lowestoft will help you unlock some of the secrets of your home.

Led by search room assistant Ivan Bunn, the workshop will show participants how to use the deeds to their property, census data, rate books, street directories, sales particulars, planning applications, manor court books and other resources to piece together their home's history.

Mr Bunn said: 'I will show people what resources are available here in the record office and show them the steps they will need to take to research their house history. This information will apply to research across England. The same rules apply when it comes to documentation.'

Mr Bunn has researched the history of his own north Lowestoft home. Using rate books he was able to establish when it became a bakery. He said researching a property's history would take more than a few hours but it was a very satisfying activity.


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Among the documents included in the workshop is an old fashioned transfer of property from 1735, which includes a lease and re-lease. Selling property was an expensive business until it was made simpler in the 1850s. To get round this, vendors would lease the property to the buyer and then sell the lease to the buyer the next day, resulting in the buyer owning the property.

Many of the documents are written in secretary hand - a standard script that would take a solicitor's clerk two to three years to learn, and some still feature sealing wax imprinted with the cygnet rings worn by the witnesses to the transactions taking place.

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The record office, based inside Lowestoft Library in Clapham Road South, covers north east Suffolk. It offers free access to census data recorded between 1841 and 1911.

The two-hour workshop will be held on Friday, March 24 at 10.30am. It costs £12.50 per person and includes a presentation and the chance to handle some of the original historical documents.

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