News - Building Beginnings

Archive: May 2011

  • Newsletter – May 2011

    Take your partners

    It’s probably safe to say that there are few people who have a full-size iron bandstand in their garden, but one of our recent clients inherited this unusual feature when their family bought the property in the 1980s. Originally positioned on the seafront at Ilfracombe, the bandstand gradually fell into disrepair until a former owner of my client’s house bought it for £150. In the 1930s, the stables and coachhouse housed a collection of old cars belonging to an earlier owner who was photographed in many of them at the property – very helpful for spotting changes to the house in the background. Originally built by a local farmer, the same property was later home to an iron merchant, chemical manufacturer, grocer and retired priest.

    Tales from the riverside

    Whoops of delight had to be stifled at one local archive and nearby library recently when I discovered a set of photographs of an 18th century house I was researching. This was quickly followed by finding a beautiful pen and ink sketch of the property and its riverside setting drawn a century earlier. An impressive range of maps, mostly in good condition, provided plenty of information about the outline and position of the house and its outbuildings, as well as revealing that not only the road but also the river had been rerouted in the early 19th century.


    A curious collection of placenames emerged while we were researching a property in Gloucestershire that are on something of a theme: Teetotal Valley, Leather Bottle, and Spout House Lane.

    New! – Photo books

    How would you like a glossy, hard-cover luxury coffee table book of your house history? We are now using an online photobook service to produce high quality, professionally bound books to add to our range of presentation options for our clients. The books are in full colour on thick glossy paper and come complete with dustjacket for an unusual and lasting gift or keepsake for your house. Contact us for further details.

    Top tweets

    Yes we’ve joined Twitter and we’ve love you to follow us. Here’s a flavour of what you’ll see:

    • It was swedes they planted in Upper Furlong in 1880, not Swedes.
    • Pity 18c daughter of Henry Arden who had box tea used on her hair, fell ill, and was treated with leeches.
    • Plum Pudding Hills sounds a tasty place. And it’s not a million miles from Mince Pie Piece I just found on a tithe map.
    • 1808 water mill tenant 1m from nearest house paid £32 in today’s £ to insure contents against fire. And he had the river right there.

    Blogging news

    We discuss the best way to introduce yourself, contemplate appearing in the history of our old house now on the market for a small fortune, the perils of cutting archive services, moving house – literally, and grocery shopping in 1804 including Mrs Dunn’s purchase of 32lbs of fat. Read all about these and other stories on our blog.

    From the archives – ‘Wish you were here’

    Correspondence between a Mr Stephens and his brother during a trip to Europe in the 1750s included some rather odd requests:

    ‘Having received a green frock waistcoat and three pairs of breeches, he asked for three volumes of Milton to be delivered to him, and shirts. The forks that were sent did not meet the required specification, being neither silver nor tridents. His next request, following comments on the cost of living and fish, was to order some sheep’s gut to cover a Bologna sausage.  In return, his brother was no doubt pleased to receive from Italy a pocket inkhorn, two compass seals, some scallop dishes and a tent.’

    Finally, we will be exhibiting at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show on 12-15 May and would love to see you at our stand.

    Posted in News