Tracing your house history…

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House history: A House Through Time
Monday, 8 April sees the return of the popular BBC Two series, A House Through Time, where historian David Olusoga tells the story of those who lived in one house, from the time it was built until the modern day. Series two will focus on a home in Ravensworth Terrace, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Find out more about the show and watch the series trailer here. You can catch the first episode on Monday night at 9pm.

Pen & Sword author Gaynor Haliday (Victorian Policing, 2017) will appear in episode one of the show’s second series, presenting David Olusoga with evidence and documents relating to an incident involving one of the house’s first occupants in 1836, which Haliday uncovered whilst researching her book.

Taking it further – recommended reading, with 30% off RRP:

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Victorian Policing by Gaynor Haliday.

‘Haliday is very good in her discussion of the working life of the Victorian police constable… if you want rattling good stories about Victorian policemen, look no further…’ WDYTYA Magazine

‘Ms Haliday has produced a very useful and nicely illustrated compilation on the realities of early policing.’ Police History Society

‘There is a wealth of information and case studies here, and anyone with police ancestors will find it useful. Gaynor covers areas such as recruitment, training and progression up the ranks, to how order was kept, looking at evidence of offences such as riotous or disorderly behavior and how such behavior was treated by constables on the beat. However, evidence of misbehaviour by the constables themselves is also explored.’ *Your Family History’

What was life like for the Victorian bobby? Gaynor Haliday became fascinated with the history of the early police forces when researching the life of her great, great grandfather; a well-regarded, long-suffering Victorian police constable in Bradford. Although a citation claimed his style of policing was merely to cuff the offender round the ear and send him home, press reports of the time painted a much grimmer picture of life on the beat in the Victorian streets.

Handwritten Watch Committee minutes, historical newspapers and police records combine to reveal an account of how and why the various police forces were set up; the recruitment, training and expectations of the men, the issues and crimes they had to deal with, and the hostility they encountered from the people whose peace they were trying to keep.


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Tracing Your House History – A Guide For Family Historians by Gill Blanchard.

‘This book has been thoroughly researched and presented; and I believe it should be considered the book for those researching houses or a One-Place Study. It was a true delight to read and review.’ FFHS

‘Among the most comprehensive books on tracing house history, packing a great deal of information into just over 200 pages. A complete guide to house history.’ Your Family Tree

‘I was particularly impressed by the great detail the author goes into with each source and how she explains some of the mystifying terms used in old documents. Highlighting the relevant websites as you progress through each chapter is another useful tool, and the ‘Finding…’ part at the end of each section is a great idea, as it can help you hunt down sources with ease. Gill’s text is not only easy to follow for beginners, but also contains up-to-date information for more experienced researchers. It may inspire those who think they have exhausted all records on a particular house to pick up their notes and try again.’ WDYTYA Magazine

Anyone who wants to find out about the history of their house – of their home – needs to read this compact, practical handbook. Whether you live in a manor house or on a planned estate, in a labourer’s cottage, a tied house, a Victorian terrace, a twentieth-century council house or a converted warehouse – this is the book for you. In a series of concise, information-filled chapters, Gill Blanchard shows you how to trace the history of your house or flat, how to gain an insight into the lives of the people who lived in it before you, and how to fit it into the wider history of your neighbourhood.

A wealth of historical evidence is available in libraries, archives and record offices, in books and online, and this is the ideal introduction to it. Gill Blanchard explores these resources in depth, explains their significance and directs the researcher to the most relevant, and revealing, aspects of them. She makes the research process understandable, accessible and fun, and in the process she demystifies the sometimes obscure language and layout of the documents that researchers will come up against.

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