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Tracing the history of your house

Preliminary steps

Talk to your neighbours – if they have lived in that area for some time, they may know something of the history of your house.

Then look at the property itself. Documentary sources are unlikely to tell you exactly when it was built, or when major alterations took place, but architectural features may help answer these questions.
Some of the books mentioned at the end of this guide include chapters on architecture and Norfolk Heritage Explorer includes advice on how to date a building from building materials and styles.

The Norfolk Historic Buildings Group surveys historic buildings in the county at the owner’s request and provides reports interpreting their histories. Check too whether there is any published information about the property.

The NHC has many local history books. If the building is of special historical or architectural interest, consult Pevsner's Buildings of England (NRO and NHC) and the Department of the Environment's Lists of Buildings of Architectural or Historical Interest, which should be held by your local district council.

There may be information about a historic building at the Norfolk Historic Environment Record (NHER). Its Secondary Files include detailed reports, photographs and other records and can be consulted by prior appointment, during normal office hours.

The Norfolk Heritage Explorer website mentioned above will also tell you whether any information about a house or building is held by the NHER.

The Historic England Archive holds descriptions of listed buildings in England, as well as thousands of photographs of buildings from the 1860s to the present, aerial photographs from the 1930s to the present and survey reports on specific buildings.