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Tracing the history of your house

Plans and architectural drawings

Architectural drawings

We hold some collections of late 19th and 20th century architects' drawings, notably those of H C Boardman.

References to these can be found in the online catalogue (opens new window). You can refine your search by using the genre 'Architectural/building plans'.

Also check in the searchroom the places, map and architects' names card indexes; the subject card index under 'architectural drawings'; and the person card index under the architect's name. Plans survive for few buildings erected before the late 1800s.

Building control plans and planning applications

New buildings and major alterations to existing properties have required local authority approval since the late 19th century.

Plans and supporting papers may have been lodged with the local building control or planning departments. We hold plans for the following districts (for other areas, please contact the relevant district council).

Norwich City Council

We have Norwich City Council building control plans, 1877-1988 (see list N/EN 12) and planning applications, 1949-76, 1980-6 (see list N/P 2).

Building control plans, 1877-1933 (part) are indexed on the online catalogue. After this, the catalogue only gives plan reference numbers, so you will need to consult the finding aids available in the searchroom for these very large series:

  • Indexed registers to building control plans, 1893-1952 (see list N/EN 31, available on microfilms MF 977-978)
  • Indexes to building control plans, 1877-1927, 1937-66 (see list N/EN 12/2). A typescript list and index of plans, 1877-94, is available on the searchroom shelves with list N/EN 12.
  • Indexed registers to planning applications, 1949-74 (available on microfilms MF/X/281-283).

For indexes after these dates, contact CNC Building Control Consultancy and Norwich City Council's Planning Department (see below).

We have only a selection of city building control plans and planning applications from 1967 onwards, but this selection does include the plans of most new buildings. 

All plans from May 1967 to the present day (with a very few exceptions) have been microfilmed by Norwich City Council. You can consult microfiche copies of the building control plans by making an appointment at CNC Building Control Consultancy (opens new window).

For microfiche copies of planning applications, make an appointment with the planning department of Norwich City Council.

The microfiche copies of building control plans numbered 32941-44825 (May 1967 to March 1974) were filmed with the planning applications and are available at the planning department, rather than at CNC Building Control Consultancy.

North Norfolk District Council

We have building control plans, c1898-1974 and planning applications, 1949-74, for the former urban and rural district councils which now comprise North Norfolk District Council. These are:

  • Cromer UDC
  • Erpingham RDC
  • Sheringham UDC
  • Smallburgh RDC
  • North Walsham UDC
  • Walsingham RDC
  • Wells UDC

There are indexed registers to all the districts (except North Walsham UDC) on microfilms MF 526-540.

For North Walsham, you will need to consult the original registers (see list DC 21/4/1-10).

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk

King's Lynn building control plans, 1883-1962, are held at the King's Lynn Borough Archives. We have a small number of plans for Docking Rural District, 1937-47, and Downham Rural District, 1912-47.

No plans are known to have survived for the other districts which became parts of west Norfolk in 1974.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

We have the following items:

  • Great Yarmouth County Borough building control plans, indexes and registers, 1860-2000 (see list Y/TPL)
  • Building control application registers 1885-1989 give the plan number, along with the address, landowner and builder (see Y/TPL 3/1-19, 23-28)
  • For card indexes to the plans, 1945-c2000, see Y/TPL 7 and 8
  • For plans (with gaps), 1860-1989, see Y/TPL 9.

We also have some building application registers and plans for areas merged into the borough in 1974: Blofield and Flegg RDC, 1961-64, and Mutford and Lothingland RDC, 1897-1950s (see Y/TPL 3/20-22 and Y/TPL 10)

Norwich city architect's plans

Both the NRO and the NHC have a set of 62 microfilms of city architect's department plans from 1920-1990s (microfilms MF 1221-1283).

They relate to schemes with which the city architect's department was involved, such as council housing and the maintenance of historic buildings owned by the City Council (such as Norwich Castle, St Andrew's Hall, the Guildhall, Theatre Royal).

The films include images of many thousands of plans. For an index to the plans, see the green A3 folder, labelled N/AR, on our searchroom shelves. We also have three other microfilms of city architect's plans of historic buildings, 1920-92, on microfilms MF 575-577.

For more details, see N/AR 6/1-3. For other Norwich city architect's plans deposited with NRO, see list N/AR.