History of site updates

Most recent

2014

Apologies for absense

My apologies to readers for neglecting updates to this website this year. I have been working on a new book on the Celts, due out in Autumn 2015. Further details will be announced next year on my other website Ancestral Journeys. My best wishes to you all for 2015. 29 December 2014.

Longford Cathedral arises from the ashes

St Mel's Cathedral at Longford restoredSome good news for the festive season. On Christmas Eve the Catholic Cathedral of St. Mel in Longford, Ireland reopened for worship after being gutted by fire on Christmas Day 2009. This Victorian cathedral was long in building. The foundation stone was laid in 1840, but the cathedral was not consecrated until 23 May 1893. Happily its restoration has been completed with commendable speed. 29 December 2014.

Scottish Valuation Rolls for 1925

The Valuation Rolls for 1925 have been added to the Scotlands People website. 9 December 2014.

Scottish Valuation Rolls for 1885

The Valuation Rolls for 1885 have just been added to the Scotlands People website. The new records comprise 1,441,484 indexed names/addresses and 77,238 digital images, and cover every kind of property that was assessed in 1885 as having a rateable value. 15 February 2014.

2013

Web-site fixed

The website is now working for me on Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 10, so I hope no-one is having further problems. The good news is that the move was accompanied by a clean-up of broken links and other problems. 21 December 2013.

Web-site woes

My apologies to those of you having difficulties with this website currently. I changed my hosting suddenly, which broke large parts of the site. I am working on it. 9 December 2013.

Paint analysis seminar

Paint analysis may sound arcane, but it is a useful tool to uncover a building’s past, helping to date sequences of construction and provide information on how a room would have looked in the past. An afternoon seminar led by Patrick Baty is offered by SPAB on 11 March 2014 at 37 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY. 5 December 2013.

Bridge Chapels Conference

The Ecclesiological Society is holding a half-day conference on Bridge Chapels on Saturday 1 February 2014, Central London. This afternoon conference will explore bridge chapels and other religious buildings associated with bridges in the Middle Ages in Britain. The cost of the day is £17.50 for members of the Society, £19.50 for non-members, £15.00 for under- and post-graduate students. This includes refreshments at the interval. The conference will be held at Queens's College, Harley Street, London. 17 November 2013.

National Archives Image Library

The National Archives houses the wealth of documents generated by national government, which icludes thousands of maps, plans, architectural drawings and other images. Now they have over 40,000 images available to download from their searchable Image Library. 16 October 2013.

Scottish 1895 Valuation Rolls online

The Valuation Rolls in Scotland for 1895 have just been added to the ScotlandsPeople website. They cover every kind of building, structure or dwelling that was assessed in 1895 as having a rateable value. The names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property are given, and in many cases, their occupations too. The Valuation Rolls for 1905 and 1915 were already online at the same site. So we now have snapshots of Scottish ownership and occupation over three decades conveniently available for researchers. 30 May 2013.

Local newspapers online

Increasing numbers of local newspapers are now available online. Recently the Kent Messenger Group launched an online digital archive of The South Eastern Gazette (1852 to 1912), the forerunner of the Kent Messenger. The project was supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and diligent volunteers, making possible free access within the UK. Meanwhile a commercial operation, Last Chance To Read, makes available a collection of thousands of pages of scarce British and Irish newspapers, most of which were printed between the years 1710 and 1870. Search is free, but there is a charge to download images of pages. These are useful additions to the growing list of online newspapers which you can find on my Local Studies Libraries page. 1 April 2013.

Constructive Conservation

From new hotels in London and Ipswich, to retail and office developments in Bristol and Yorkshire and converted industrial buildings in Derbyshire and Stoke-on-Trent, across the country there are businesses flourishing in historic buildings which have been repaired or adapted to enable them to have a more successful financial future. Thirty six such buildings are celebrated in a new publication by English Heritage called Constructive Conservation - Sustainable Growth for Historic Places (which can be downloaded free in pdf.) They are all conservation-led projects where English Heritage planners' positive and constructive approach to managing change has enabled historic buildings to be kept in use. 19 March 2013.

Irish maps c.1558-c.1610

60 different maps depicting plantations, fortifications and townships in Ireland during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I can now be dowloaded from the National Archives for a small fee each. The places shown on them can be searched free. 5 March 2013.

St Helen's rises again

St Helen's Parish Church in County Durham had stood in its old location for more than 900 years, but after being vandalised it had been slated for demolition. The stones were rescued by the Beamish Museum. It has taken 16 years to find the funding to rebuild it in its new home, but now the roof is on. Restorers are now looking for some Georgian pews to recreate a fitting interior. The BBC has a video telling the story. 20 January 2013.

Archaeology journals open access

Internet Archaeology has just announced that its back catalogue (up to and including issue 21 published in September 2007) is now open access. Also the Royal Archaeological Institute has announced that the first 120 volumes of the Archaeological Journal (1844-1963) are now available to view online free at the Archaeology Data Service. 18 January 2013.

2012

Bomb Sight

An interactive map showing the location of bombs dropped on London during World War II has been created by a team from the University of Portsmouth using maps of the London WWII bomb census, taken between October 1940 and June 1941. The website bombsight.org allows the user to click on the icon for a particular bomb to get more information about it. 7 December 2012.

Scottish wills 1901-1925

Wills and testaments for 1902 to 1925 are now live on Scotlands People. With this latest addition of records, researchers can now access 1 million Scottish wills, covering the period 1513 to 1925. The firm that manages Scotlands People is Brightsolid in a partnership between the General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon. 9 November 2012.

British Newspaper Archive

This seems a good moment to mention another useful venture by Brightsolid. The British Newspaper Archive website was launched in November last year. The British Newspaper Library had already digitisised a number of national and local newspapers from the 19th century, which are available online at British Library: Newspapers 1800-1900. Brightsolid took the project further, including newspapers from 1700-1999. As it nears its anniversary, it is edging towards 6 million pages digitised from the British Newspaper Library, including a wide range of local newspapers from Britain and Ireland. Search is free, but there is a charge to view images. 9 November 2012.

BBC Your Paintings

Lea's Public House, Bury by James Shaw (Bury Art Museum, Greater Manchester)An exciting new online database is nearing completion. BBC Your Paintings aims to make available online all oil paintings in public ownership in the UK. The Public Catalogue Foundation has spent a decade photographing artworks in museums, galleries, universities, councils and hospitals. About 80% of these paintings are not on public view. So this project opens up access to a lot of images that normally never see the light of day. 172,000 images are now online. The full catalogue of 210,000 paintings by 45,000 artists is due to be online by mid-December. This joins the growing number of combined online catalogues or databases of images that could be useful to the building history researcher.

Victorian images by local artists such as James 'Clock' Shaw of pubs and industrial buildings are particularly useful. Such subjects might not attract those artists aiming to sell prints or photographers aiming to sell postcards. Consequently easily accessible historic images can be hard to find. 4 October 2012.

Britain from Above

A new website was launched today by English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales. Britain from Above makes freely available online more than 16,000 images from one of the earliest collections of aerial photography. The Aerofilms Collection was compiled between 1919 and 1953. Many shots were taken in the early days of aviation by ex-First World War pilots, from extremely low altitudes. Many of the images are instantly recognisable - but the public are also being asked for their help to identify some other locations. 25 June 2012.

Irish Chancery Letters online

CIRCLE: A Calendar of Irish Chancery Letters c. 1244 - 1509 brings together all known letters enrolled on the Irish chancery rolls during the Middle Ages (1244–1509). The Irish chancery was the office of the great seal of the king used in Ireland. It produced two series of enrolments: patent and close rolls. These cover the full range of royal activity in Ireland, which includes grants of lands, so there is useful material here for building historians. Meanwhile British History Online continues to make available materials for British history. I have extended my list of Crown Records on Medieval manors and their records to take account of the records so helpfully becoming available online. 16 May 2012.

Scottish Valuation Rolls 1915 go online

The team behind Scotlands People has been busily digitising a useful source from the National Archives of Scotland. The Valuation Rolls from 1855 to 1989 record the names of the owner and occupier of each property, in order for local authorities to set rates. The Valuation Roll for 1915 is the first to go online. 30 March 2012.

Harper road books

A century ago Charles G. Harper wrote a series of books on the major roads of Great Britain (mainly England). The text was popular and may not be of much interest, but they were illustrated with his own sketches, along with old prints and drawings. These include many view of inns. I'm happy to see that Project Gutenberg has digitized three of these now: his first, The Brighton Road (1892), plus The Dover Road (1895) and The Bath Road (1899). Meanwhile the Internet Archive can offer a good selection of his road books, including The Portsmouth Road and its Tributaries : to-day and in days of old (1895), The Exeter Road : the story of the west of England highway (1899), The Great North Road : the old mail road to Scotland (1901, revised 1922), The Holyhead Road : the mail-coach road to Dublin (1902), The Cambridge, Ely and King's Lynn Road : the great Fenland highway (1902), The Newmarket, Bury, Thetford and Cromer Road : sport and history on an East Anglian turnpike (1904), The Oxford, Gloucester and Milford Haven Road : the ready way to South Wales (1905), The Hastings Road and the "Happy springs of Tunbridge" (1906) and The Manchester and Glasgow Road : this way to Gretna Green (1907). 7 February 2012.

Harmondsworth Barn acquired for nation

The soaring interior of Harmondsworth medieval barnGood news. The largest, best preserved medieval timber barn still standing in England has been bought by English Heritage. The barn is a masterpiece of carpentry, built in 1426 by Winchester College as part of its manor farm at Harmondsworth, now absorbed into Greater London. The primary aim is to preserve this Grade I listed structure from decay. The bonus for the public is that the barn will be open for free two Sundays a month between April and October 2012, with plans to open it every Sunday from next year. 30 January 2012.

2011

Church wallpaintings

Conservation work on Victorian wallpainting at Edlesborough St Mary.The Churches Conservation Trust cares for 341 English churches. Over 80 of them have wallpaintings of some kind, making the Trust one of the country's most significant keepers of nationally important wallpaintings. So the Trust was inspired to create a beautiful online guide: Discover wallpaintings. The range of date and type is extraordinary - from the 12th to the 19th centuries, from simple monograms to visually rich Victoriana. It takes us through the history, development and meaning of wallpaintings, as well as conservation techniques. The Trust is looking for funding for phase two of the project. 15 January 2012.

Dorset Manorial Register

Following a four year project run by volunteers at the Dorset History Centre and supported by The National Archives, the Dorset section of the Manorial Documents Register (MDR) has joined those already online courtesy of the National Archives: The Manorial Documents Register. 26 October 2011.

Pews, Benches and Chairs

This month the Ecclesiological Society published the first book to focus on church seating. It promises to tackle head-on today’s debate about pew removal, as well as covering the history of the topic. Trevor Cooper and Sarah Brown, (eds.), Pews, Benches and Chairs: church seating in English parish churches from the fourteenth century to the present. 29 August 2011.

The Map of Early Modern London

The Tower of London, from the woodcut map of LondonMy attention has been drawn by Janelle Jenstad, its creator, to an ambitious project from the University of Victoria, Canada. The aim is to turn the large woodcut map of London attributed to Ralph Agas into an interactive resource, linking to encyclopedia-style articles, scholarly work, student work, editions, and literary texts to the places mentioned therein. (The map itself was already available online via British History Online: The 'Woodcut' map of London c. 1550.) I have listed The Map of Early Modern London beside Mapping Medieval Chester in my ever-lengthening towns bibliography. 27 August 2011.

Google deal with British Library

This morning an arrangement is announced between the British Library and Google for the digitisation of out-of-copyright works. Google will pay for the digitation of 250,000 works from between 1700 and 1870, giving the library one copy and keeping another to make available online. Google has similar arrangements with more than 40 other libraries, which make it possible already to search and read the full text of countless out-of-copyright books. However the British Library has a massive collection, since it is a library of legal deposit, which by law has received a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom and Ireland since 1757, but also holds the royal library, which was a library of legal deposit from 1662. The project will take some years to complete. 20 June 2011.

National Heritage List for England

The new National Heritage List for England is a combined catalogue for all designated English heritage. You can search listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens, World Heritage Sites, Certificates of Immunity and Building Preservations Notices all in one fell swoop. 8 June 2011.

St Pancras Renaissance

The grand staircase within the St. Pancras Renaissance London HotelToday sees the opening, after years of painstaking restoration, of a Victorian masterpiece. George Gilbert Scott audaciously designed a Gothic fantasy for the Midland Railway Company to serve as their London terminus and integrated Grand Midland Hotel. Unable to modernise, the hotel was closed in 1935, but saved from demolition in the Brutalist 60s by Sir John Betjeman's doughty campaigning. Now - wonder of wonders - it is reborn as the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. 5 May 2011.

National Archives Discovery

The National Archives has launched the a new search facility in beta, and is keen to get feedback on how it can be improved. The Discovery search enables you to filter search results by subject, date and series origin, as well as introducing map-based searching. 15 April 2011.

1911 Census of Scotland live

Just a reminder that the 1911 census details from more than 4.7 million Scots are now online, and confirmation that the data is indeed available from the website Scotland's People. 8 April 2011.

Google imagery update

This month Google Earth and Google Maps added high-resolution aerial updates for the northern half of Wales and Hawick in Scotland and high-resolution satellite updates for Ireland, among other countries. This is not an April Fool. Google is famous for those, but this year it's Gmail Motion. 1 April 2011

Global Heritage Network launched

The Global Heritage Fund, based in California, with a branch in London, has launched a website to track and rescue cultural heritage sites on the verge of being lost. It aims to save endangered sites in developing countries, where financial resources and expertise are limited. 21 March 2011.

Manorial Documents Register: Shropshire online

Shropshire has joined the list of English counties for which the Manorial Documents Register has computerised its records and made them available online. 18 March 2011.

New Box Ground stone quarry

The most durable of the Bath stones is being quarried again for the first time in 60 years. The new site is just 200 yards from one of the original Box Ground stone mines at Hartham Park, near Corsham. The discovery of the new seam last year excited heritage experts, it means that repairs to some of the country’s most famous listed buildings can be made using the same type of stone that built them in the first place. 24 February 2011.

1911 census of Scotland

The 1911 census returns for Scotland will be released on Tuesday 5 April 2011. This census details information collected from more than 4.7 million Scots. As far as I can gather, the data will be available from the website Scotland's People. 13 February 1911.

Listed Buildings Online

Listed Building descriptions for England have been available online for some time via Images of England, but as they stood in 2001. Now that many of the descriptions have been updated, English Heritage has provided a separate website to search for the latest versions: Listed Buildings Online. 19 January 2011.

2010

Atlas of Medieval Britain

Christopher Daniell's Atlas of Medieval Britain (2008) is due out in paperback on Friday this week, at less than half the price of the hardback edition. I mention it as the maps do locate specific architectural styles. 24 November 2010.

Anglo-Saxon burhs

Jeremy Haslam, expert on Anglo-Saxon town development, has a new book out. It's a slim paperback in the affordable Shire Archaeology series: Early Medieval Towns in Britain. And you can now lay hands on other works of his for free. He has helpfully put online in pdf format a number of his articles. Hence an update of my bibliography of the History of Towns. These include an outline published in the London Archaeologist this year of his new theory on the development of London. I enjoy his shrewd insights into the politics of the time. He visualises King Alfred making all haste to turn London into the lynchpin of his defensive strategy against the Viking menace. 13 November 2010.

Bridges update

The publication last week of Dan Cruickshank's Bridges: Heroic Designs that Changed the World inspired me to update the page on bridges. The bibliography of studies and gazetteers had become so lengthy that I have split it into sections. The same treatment has been given to the lengthening list of primary sources. British History Online recently made London Bridge: selected accounts and rentals, 1381-1538 available online. This seemed like a good time to add a reminder that bridges often appear in travel and topographical works. My list of those in print has also burgeoned over the years and now includes many links to online editions. It too had a recent update. 2 November 2010.

Domesday mapped differently

As I mentioned in August, PASE has developed an online search facility for people and places in the Domesday Book. Now the National Archives, which houses the original survey commissioned by William I, offers a nifty rival tool. It is easy to use and has several interesting features. The map starts by showing in colour the varied density of Domesday manors across England. Zoom in, or search for a particular place, and you will find a marker for each manor and its estimated boundaries. Click on the marker to get folio references to the original manuscript volumes. (The original Domesday Book is actually two volumes.) For a small fee, you can download a copy of the relevant page, alongside an English translation. Map extras inclue a heat map of Viking place names. 22 October 2010.

Google translate

Google Translate provides online machine translation of numerous modern languages into English. Now it has added Latin to its repertoire. Its Latin translator is based on Classical Latin and so may not cope well with Medieval Latin. But this is a welcome addition to the historian's toolkit. Of the other languages found in the British Isles now or in the past, Google Translate added Irish and Welsh a while ago and included French from the start, as I recall. The problem from the historian's point of view is that it naturally uses the modern forms of these languages, which may not be much help with Norman French, JŤrriais or Old Irish and Welsh. 1 October 2010.

Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill, TwickenhamThe renovation of Horace Walpole's mock-Gothic confection at Twickenham is complete. Strawberry Hill was due to reopen its doors to the public tomorrow on Horace Walpole’s birthday. However that date has been moved to Saturday 2 October. One delightful offshoot of the restoration project is a virtual tour of Strawberry Hill through 18th-century eyes, created by the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University. The Library houses Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill Collection for which there is now a slick online database too. 23 September 2010.

Maps of 16th-century Scotland

The National Library of Scotland has an excellent record when it comes to making historic maps of Scotland available online. The latest of their useful online collections is the Pont Maps. These are the earliest surviving detailed maps of Scotland, made by Timothy Pont in the 1580s and 1590s. They are included in the new UK version of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. 21 September 2010.

Gaelic place-names of Scotland

The National Gazetteer of Gaelic Place-names went online 19 August. It is the culmination of 10 years of research by Ainmean-ņite na h-Alba (AņA), the national advisory partnership to research and establish Gaelic place-names. The searchable database provides a single source of authoritative information on 1,000 Gaelic place-names, including the research on which names have been determined, links to bibliographical information and each six figure grid reference links to a map to locate each name. 2 September 2010.

Domesday mapped

The PASE website on Anglo-Saxon England now has a Domesday browser and mapping tool, which makes it possible to identify pre-Conquest landholders in Domesday Book, and create maps and tables of the estates held by the same lords elsewhere in England either online, or offline using freely-available GIS software. 10 August 2010.

Archwilio

I'm happy to report the launch on 1 July of Archwilio, the combined online database of the Historic Environment Records of the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts. 3 July 2010.

ADS new website

The Archaeology Data Service is sensibly migrating to a new domain which doesn't trigger off advertisement-blockers by containing the acronym ADS. It is currently in beta test version that requires registration, but this is free. Since the new site was tested in Firefox only, you are recommended to use that browser only during the test period. 2 July 2010.

SPASE: village origins

The SPASE website has been online for while. It was created for a series of workshops last year, entitled Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England, hence the acronym. The exercise brought together academic departments and societies researching different aspects of village origins. The result is a quick and comprehensible guide to the latest thinking on Anglo-Saxon place-names. 16 June 2010.

1901 Census of Ireland

The complete 1901 census returns for all thirty-two counties of Ireland are now online from the NationalArchives of Ireland: Census. 8 June 2010.

Historypin

Yet another map-image mash-up was launched a few days ago. As with Sepia Town, mentioned last month, and the original Histografia, Historypin aims to coordinate old photographs donated by users with a map by Google. However this latest venture has been partly funded by Google. It shows. Not stopping at one Google product, they offer linkage to Street View, Picasa and Google Accounts. So far it is in beta, and there is little content. 8 June 2010.

English Heritage Archives

Lulworth Castle 1999 (National Monuments Record)At last English Heritage has put online a catalogue of the archive held by the National Monuments Record in Swindon. English Heritage Archives makes it possible to search a database of over a million records relating to England’s historic buildings and archaeological sites. These include a huge collection of historical photographs. The advanced search includes an option to search only for records with images attached. 31 May 2010.

Sepia Town

Another map-image mash-up is out there. Sepia Town takes photographs and other images of urban buildings and places them on a Google map. The images come from Wikipedia and public online collections, such as that of the British Library. This is very similar to Histografica. Both are world-wide. Both hope to have their collections enlarged by user contributions, but Histografica has had a head start. 19 May 2010.

Population history

Population figures are not the most obvious source for building historians, but they are useful in understanding the growth of towns and cities, and hence underlie our understanding of bursts of building. I have therefore added a short bibliography and useful links for British and Irish population history to my local history bibliographies. The official population abstracts from each decennial census are available online these days. 11 May 2010.

British churches

This month The National Churches Trust is launching an online survey of all the churches, chapels and meeting houses in the UK. The aim is to understand how they are maintained, repaired, funded and used by their local communities. Those responsible for these places of worship are encouraged to submit information. 3 April 2010.

Images of Ireland

The National Library of Ireland has announced a signific boost to its online historic image collection. The library holds the world's largest collection of photographs relating to Ireland, including glass-plate images from the early days of photography. It has been diligently digitising them. It now has 34,000 photographs of Ireland and the Irish online, ranging in date from 1860 to 1954. 16 March 2010.

Vision of Britain update

The useful website The Vision of Britain continues to grow. Several more texts by travel writers have been added in the last few months, and integration of the place-names therein with the gazetteer has been improved. I have accordingly updated my list of primary sources in print, which has turned into more of a list of sources available online, I'm happy to say. More and more books which used to be difficult for a researcher to lay hands on are now only a click away. I have also been adding to other bibliographies here and there on the website. That process goes on intermittently. 16 March 2010.

Limerick investigated

Irish Historic Towns Atlas vol. 1: LimerickThe latest volume from the Irish Historic Towns Atlas, Limerick by Eamon O'Flaherty, was launched last month. It examines the topographical development of Limerick's three urban centres from Viking to Anglo-Norman to Georgian, displaying the strategic importance of the city on the Shannon from the 9th century. 16 March 2010.

Google Street View Awards

The Shambles in York has been voted Britain's most picturesque street. A nationwide poll was organised by Google, egged on by Britain's keen tourism promoters. The Guardian has the best shots of the top streets, which include several of my favourites, but the BBC goes one better with this video of the York Shambles, explaining its features. 8 March 2010.

Euromed 2010

A joint event is planned for 8th-13th of November 2010 in Lemesos, Cyprus, for the exchange and sharing of know-how in the use of digitalisation and multimedia technologies to document, preserve and manage cultural heritage. See the conference website for details and the call for papers. 3 March 2010.

RHS Bibliography vanishes behind paywall

The Royal Historical Society has given up the struggle to maintain its vast online bibliography without dedicated funding. On 1 January it became The Bibliography of British and Irish History, which is available by subscription via Brepols Publishers. This is not a complete calamity. The Irish material is now being hosted by Royal Irish Academy at Irish History Online. Also the Royal Historical Society intends to honour its promise to maintain its online guide to serial record publications, though that will have to be rebuilt, as it was previously constructed from the main bibliography. As of now it is not available. I am leaving links in place in the hope of its reappearance in the not too far distant future. 11 February 2010.

Powering the world

The Archives and Records Council Wales won funding from the Pilgrim Trust for a project to catalogue some collections from the industrial past of the principality. The business papers include those of two slate merchants and a brickworks. The project got under way late last year; you can follow its progress on the blog Powering the World: Looking at Welsh Industry through Archives. 4 February 2010.

2009

Longford Cathedral burned down

This is not the news you want in the festive season. St Mel's Cathedral in Longford, Republic of Ireland was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Christmas Day. St Mel's was a grand Victorian edifice in the Classical style. 27 December 2009.

Google and UNESCO join forces

Earlier this month Google announced a partnership with UNESCO to include imagery of World Heritage sites into Street View. You can wander around the ruins of Pompeii, The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, the historic centre of Prague or 16 other sites. Google aims to add many more World Heritage landmarks in the coming months. 23 December 2009.

Scotland's Places

The website Scotland's Places makes light work of local history research north of the border. It is a joint venture of the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), combining catalogues and digitised maps, photographs and other records from each institution, including the report of the Land Ownership Commission 1872-3. It was launched in October. 23 December 2009.

Evaluating sources

A quick guide to evaluating sources has been added to the introduction to primary sources. 22 December 2009.

OSI free Mapviewer

Ordnance Survey Ireland digitised its splendid archive of early OS maps some time ago and made them available for a fee at Ireland's Historical Mapping Archive. Now a public version of its Mapviewer has been launched on the OSI's own website. It includes the first edition 6-inch sheets of the early Victorian period, and the late Victorian 25-inch series. 19 December 2009.

Image finder updated

Bridgegate, Glasgow in 1846. Watercolour by William Simpson (Glasgow Museums)Over the last couple of days I have been updating my list of image collections online, organised geographically. I'm happy to report many more additions than subtractions. 18 December 2009.

CBA report on vernacular buildings

The CBA research report Vernacular Buildings in a Changing World: understanding, recording and conservation (2001) is now available online from the Archaeology Data Service. 13 December 2009.

County Clare NIAH volume

The latest volume from the (Irish) National Inventory of Architectural Heritage came out last month: An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Clare. 13 December 2009.

Images of England

Holy Trinity Church, Stratford Upon Avon (©  Helmut Schulenburg)English Heritage have sent out Christmas greetings, together with the news that the final images were added this year to Images of England. This was an astonishingly ambitious project. It was no small task to photograph every listed building in the country. The photographs were taken by hundreds of volunteer photographers, starting in 1999. The completed site now has over 323,000 images of England’s listed buildings. 8 December 2009.

Connected Histories

Online historical research is set to get easier. The Connected Histories project aims to create a new search engine for materials relating to British history 1500-1900, such as digitised books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps and images. It is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire, the Institute of Historical Research, and King’s College London. But don't rejoice yet. The website won't be fully launched until March 2011. 27 November 2009.

Pillboxes and dragon's teeth

The original reports from The Defence Areas Project, which examined preparations for the defence of Britain in 1940/41 against the threat of German invasion, can now be downloaded from the Archaeological Data Service. 16 November 2009.

V&A online

The Victoria and Albert Museum has been gradually feeding more and more images of its collections into its searchable online database. It recently celebrated a landmark. There are now one million records in the system. These include imagery of interest to building historians, such as architectural designs, historic photographs of buildings, topographical drawings and paintings. There is also a collection of architectural sculpture. Tip: if you find an image of interest, you can click on its category (such as architecture) to find similar images. 31 October 2009.

Early Irish Maps

Map of the Barony of Tulleygarvey, Cavan, 1609 (National Archives)The National Archives holds more than 60 different maps of plantations, fortifications and townships in Ireland during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. They are among the earliest cartographic representations of Ireland. So popular are they with researchers that they have been added to the Documents Online service. Search is free, but there is a charge of £3.50 to download a digital version. 28 October 2009.

3D Cities in Google Earth

In addition to Street View, which was extended to the UK in March, Google Earth offers views of selected cities in photo-realistic 3D. Last month three cities in the British Isles were added: Dublin, Cardiff and Birmingham. Google Earth has also been enlarging its database of individual buildings in 3D, which now includes 3D tours of castles and palaces in Europe, and bridges and cathedrals world-wide. 24 October 2009.

Monastic Wales

This new online database of monastic sites in Wales deserves a welcome. The project is a collaboration between the University of Wales Lampeter and the University of Aberystwyth, but an appealing feature is their invitation to other scholars to participate. Monastic Wales aims to eventually contain a full bibliography, links and research tools. It already contains a gazetteer of monastic houses, complete with map, and bibliography. 24 October 2009.

Producing reports

Building history research is often required as part of the process of gaining official permission for works, or is conducted by local or national authorities themselves. So I have added a section on working with authories to the quick report-production guide. It lists a few helpful official guides to the process. 20 October 2009.

Lost country houses

Last November I mentioned Matthew Beckett's Lost Heritage - an online memorial to vanished English country houses. Now I find via his site that Alastair Disley has been working for the last three years on Scotland's Lost Country Houses, while Tarquin Blake has been diligently recording ruined and demolished buildings in Ireland. Abandoned Ireland covers mainly country houses and castles. So all three are now listed among country house gazetteers. Meanwhile Brian Hull has created a charming website recording his pursuit of one particular lost country house: Parlington Hall in Yorkshire. 14 October 2009.

Craigievar in the pink

A two-year £500,000 facelift to return the 17th-century Aberdeenshire castle to its original look has been completed. The National Trust for Scotland's Craigievar Castle now has a traditional lime-based alternative to concrete-based harling - in a shade of pink that makes it look even more like a Walt Disney backdrop. 13 October 2009.

Welsh wills online

All wills proved in Welsh diocesan courts before 1858 are in the National Library of Wales. These have been digitised, together with inventories, and the images are now online. 5 October 2009.

Complete Irish 1911 Census online

I reported in early July that the complete 1911 census records for people living in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are now online at 1911census.co.uk. Now Ireland has caught up. The returns for all thirty-two counties are now available free online at Census of Ireland 1911. Scotland will presumably wait until the due release date of 2011. 28 August 2009.

Site speed

As over half of this site's readers have either updated to Internet Explorer 8 or are using Firefox or other browsers which render quotation marks correctly from html markup, I have removed a script which enabled quotation marks to be visible in Internet Explorer 7 and below. This should improve the loading speed of pages, as the script required a check via another site which is sometime slow-running. My apologies to those still using IE 7 and below, but I suspect that most of you would trade visible quotation marks for speed anyway. 24 August 2009.

Nonconformist Protestant chapels

The section on Nonconformist chapels has been updated, mainly by adding an introduction. It is disappointing that the RCAHMW has removed its online database of Welsh chapels, but in compensation I have added a link to Capel, which is doing sterling work on Welsh chapels and has a good online bibliography for them. 22 August 2009.

Dendrochronology update

Back in 2000 the Vernacular Architecture Group compiled an online Dendrochronology Database for buildings in Britain and Ireland, based on the lists published annually in its journal Vernacular Archaeology. It is hosted by the Archaeology Data Service. That database was brought bang up to date in July. I now link to it from my brief introduction to dating historic buildings. Their online Cruck Database has also been updated. 15 August 2009.

Canmore goes democratic

Canmore, the online database of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, is now inviting users to submit their own information and images.

Google News Archive Search

Last month I mentioned the British Library's progress in newspaper digitisation. Another such project by Google, in collaboration with existing digital newspaper archives, is making newspapers from around the world available online, via Google News Archive Search. These include US and Commonwealth newspapers, which often include British and Irish news. The Guardian Digital Archive is also included. 11 August 2009.

The semi-detached

An email query made me realise that I had said not a word about the British love for the semi-detached house. That has now been rectified. Though my new introduction to housing types is of necessity brief, much more information can be found in new additions to the bibliography. 5 August 2009.

Mapping Medieval Chester

This innovatory project has created an interactive digital map of medieval Chester. Academics from Swansea University, Queen’s University Belfast, and the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London have pulled together cartographic, historical and archaeological information to map Chester c.1500. The website is a marvel. In addition to the digital map itself (in high and low bandwidth versions), there are static maps to download in pdf format, and the medieval texts used, complete with pop-up notes and maps, and indexes of persons and places. 5 August 2009.

Guides to recording

The Internet-savvy David Connolly of British Archaeological Jobs and Resources (BAJR) has been making good use of Scribd since it was launched. His Short Guide to Digital Photography in Archaeology (2006) has proved popular. Since it applies just as well to building history - in fact 3 out of 4 of his examples are standing buildings - I have added a link to it to my page on Guides to recording and interpreting the fabric of buildings. The latter was recently fleshed out with a brief introduction. 4 August 2009.

High-Tech recording

New techniques in recording are in the news. The May/June issue of Archaeology checks the progress of a 3D laser scan of a Zapotec temple, while the current issue of New Scientist reports on an ultrasound system, begged from the Institute of Industrial Automation in Madrid to help record a Palaeolithic site in Spain.

3D modelling is not exactly new. Ben Kacyra founded Cyra Technologies in 1989 to create more efficient means of surveying, and then founded the non-profit CyArk in 2002 to make laser scans of important heritage sites all over the world. But CyArk is celebrating a milestone: its 25th project to be digitally preserved and made publicly available via the web. Congratulations to them. No sites in the British Isles are among the 25, but Stirling Castle and Offaly Castles are among their current projects. 2 August 2009.

Bookreader

The Internet Archive released its new bookreader last month. As it can be embedded in webpages, I have tried it out by creating a new page on historic local guides. I have also made the old British Museum catalogues of manuscript maps, plans and drawings available in the new format, as well as pdf, on the English archives page. The Internet Archive now holds 1,500,000 books. 27 July 2009.

Domesday Book

A section on the Domesday Book has been added to the new property taxation records page. An electronic version of the Phillimore edition can be downloaded free from the UK Data Archive. 25 July 2009.

More tithe maps online

Another two projects to digitise tithe maps are progressing well. East Devon's Parishscapes Project is in the lead, with all of the maps for the Area of Outstanding Beauty online, together with many of the apportionments in transcript. Tracks in Time: The Leeds Tithe Map Project aims to provide online access to fifty-eight historic tithe maps which together span the modern Leeds Metropolitan District area. So far there is just a taster online - a gallery of low-resolution map images. 21 July 2009.

The plus side of taxes

Our ancestors have been groaning over taxation since the Danegeld, but the tax gathering process is a boon to the historian. It tends to generate records of a much more comprehensive type than chronicles or a scattering of deeds. For years this guide has mentioned property taxes under houses, and those government surveys coordinated with map under maps, but the subject really deserves a page of its own. Now it has one: Historic property taxation and valuation in Britain and Ireland. 20 July 2009.

Harvard gets Scribd

Since Harvard University Press has now agreed to sell some of its titles digitally via Scribd, it seems a good moment to mention this online publishing website. Its content covers a multitude of topics, including architecture, most of it free to read and download. 18 July 2009

Library buildings in Ireland

A well-designed database of Irish public library buildings went online this year. For each library it offers images, map location, a summary of building history and references. I also like the gallery of images arranged by type, such as former Carnegie Libraries.

I have added a few additional Irish titles to my bibliographies on towns and primary sources in print. 18 July 2009.

Itinerary maps

A short section has been added to the maps page to cover early route maps. They are not the most obvious source for building historians, nor the best. Yet they may provide a clue to a building that happened to lie beside a much travelled highway. 14 July 2009

Vision of Britain relaunch

Vision of Britain has launched its new look. A redesign makes the site more intuitive to use, and more data has been added, including over 1000 images of early Boundary Commission Report Maps and Administrative area maps. 13 July 2009.

19C British newspapers

British Library: Newspapers 1800-1900 makes it possible to search online 49 local and national titles, and view complete articles from the Penny Illustrated Paper and The Graphic free of charge. Complete content of other titles is available free to educational institutions, other subscribing libraries, and to those within a British Library building. Otherwise individuals can get access by personal online subscription. 9 July 2009.

Scottish maps update

It has been a while since I checked up on the progress of map digitisation by the National Library of Scotland. The project now boasts high-resolution, zoomable images of over 20,000 maps of Scotland. Last month the earliest detailed maps were added: the 25-inch Ordnance Survey 1st edition. 9 July 2009.

More 1911 Census online

The complete 1911 census records for people living in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are now online at 1911census.co.uk. Meanwhile Donegal, Cork, Galway, Wexford and King’s County (Offaly) are the latest batch of counties to be made available on the online Census of Ireland 1911. 3 July 2009.

Newsfeed

Who would want a newsfeed from this site? Who knows? Anyway I am experimenting with RSS. Hence the change to the format of these snippets, with the date at the end. 30 June 2009.

Masonic lodges

Two new links have been added on Masonic lodges, which illustrate what a range of buildings have been used by the Freemasons. 28 June 2009.

John West's new website

John West, author of Town Records and Village Records has now put together an online guide to sources for local history, called Archives Then and Now. His conversion to the joys of the Internet has prompted me to add an online section to my bibliography of local history. 21 June 2009.

Irish Town Atlas

The latest volume of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas came out last month, covering Tuam. 21 June 2009.

Dating ceramics

Scientists at The University of Manchester have developed a new way of dating fired clay ceramics, which was tested on bricks. The results have been amazingly accurate. Given the costs involved in laboratory testing, I suspect that this will be used sparingly in building history, like dendrochronology, but could be very useful indeed in some cases. 24 May 2009 †

Irish Architectural Heritage latest

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage of Ireland has been busy extending its coverage of Ireland both in print and in its online database. I have just updated the list of its publications. I have also added the online database of sites and monuments in the Republic to my list of gazetteers. 23 May 2009.

Cheshire tithe maps online

Cheshire Record Office managed to put all the tithe maps for the county online last year - see e-mapping Victorian Cheshire - a very useful addition to my list of finding aids for images. 23 May 2009.

Google Street View

Yesterday Google extended its Street View to the UK with coverage of 25†cities from Aberdeen to Southampton. The BBC has the full list. Video was made along British streets by customised camera cars. I tested it out for Bristol and found it excellent. The photography is clear. It is very easy to navigate and with 360-degree views, you can get a good look at the frontage of an historic building and its setting. You can take a virtual walk along streets and around corners, while your position is marked on a handy inset map.

The Tate has added value by creating a feature that places a topographical image from its collection side-by-side with a present-day view of the same location. Only a small selection of artworks is included. The Tate has been restricted in its choice by Street View's city focus. 20 March 2009

More private chapel sources

Colin Blanshard Withers has helpfully pointed out additional sources for private chapels, which have been added to the chapels page. 13 March 2009

Connacht Landed Estates Database

Why did no-one tell me about this? The Connacht Landed Estates Database went online last year. It aims to be a comprehensive and integrated resource guide to landed estates and gentry houses in Connacht, c. 1700-1914. It lists a mass of estate records in the National Archives of Ireland, and†includes data from Griffith's Valuation. For many country houses there is a photograph, as well as a brief history, and locations are plotted on a map. 4 March 2009

26 February 2009

Agata Dras, developer of HistoGrafica, has drawn my attention to this online collection of historic images. It was assembled initially from Wikipedia and the US Library of Congress, and is growing from user contributions. That last sounds familiar? Panoramio, which I mentioned on 5 February, is another user-formed image collection, with some similarities. They both cover the globe, but the UK and Ireland are well-represented. Like Panoramio, HistoGrafica gives the location of the image on a Google map. But unlike Panoramio, HistoGrafica images must be at least 25 years old, and therein lies its potential greater usefulness to building historians. As you might expect, old photographs dominate.

Another large collection of historic photographs was built up decades ago by the Irish Historical Picture Company. More recently the company has started trading online. Unfortunately it does not give the dates of images, but the sheer size of the collection encouraged me to list it among Irish archives.

24 February 2009

My bare outline of Chinoiserie has been fleshed out a shade, mainly thanks to the National Trust Print Collection, which I have only just come across. Its purpose naturally is to sell photographs, but it is a useful collection of images of NT properties, including 18th-century architect's plans for Attingham Park.

22 February 2009

My apologies. The redirects were not working properly. I set them up wrongly through bleary eyes in the early hours. All should be well now.

21 February 2009

Once again this website has has a redesign under the hood. It should now be easier to add navigational items such as site search, which has re-appeared on every page, and to slip in new pages, such as the page on barns (migrated from farms) and a new introduction to building types. It may also make pages faster-loading. The downside is that most pages now have a new url ending in shtml. So any links or bookmarks that you may have to individual pages will need updating. (I can hear the curses from here.) Automatic redirects are in place for the moment. While I was at it, I swept a few cobwebs out of less frequented corners. It would be tedious to list all the little updates and reshuffles, but the page on public buildings has been beefed up.

16 February 2009

Last year RASCAL, created as a combined online catalogue of research and special collections in Northern Ireland, expanded to cover the whole of Ireland. I am rather late in realising this, but better late than never.

8 February 2009

The page on churches has been updated with a list of relevant societies and a new little bibliography for general guides to church records.

5 February 2009

By the way Google Earth now includes a huge number of photographs taken by users, including multitudes of images of buildings old and new. Those who do not want to download Google Earth can use Panoramio online. The advantage lies in seeing the image together with the precise location of the building on aerial view and map.

2 February 2009

Google Earth 5.00 was launched today. The major new feature is coverage of the oceans, but among the small print you will see historical imagery on offer. This sounds exciting for building historians, but naturally Google is generally limited to the last few years, when aerial survey has been regularly undertaken. Although Google boasts that it can offer 50 years of Silicon Valley, for the places I tried within Britain the date range was much more restricted. It could still be useful to see what an area looked like before a recent development.

13 January 2009

Census returns are usually released to the public 100 years after the census was taken, but that for 1911 is being released early by the National Archives. The 1911census.co.uk website launches officially today, but will probably be overloaded initially by users. At launch it offers census returns on almost all English counties. The rest, plus Welsh counties, the Channel Isles, and Isle of Man will follow.

Meanwhile digitisation of the 1911 Census of Ireland has been under way for some time. The records for Antrim, Down and Kerry were made available online on 23 December 2008 to add to those of Dublin City and County, launched in December 2007.

No early release is planned for the 1911 census of Scotland, but earlier census returns for Scotland can now be read at the new ScotlandsPeople Centre, which opened yesterday.

2008

9 December 2008

East Cheap Market in 1598The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. now has an online image database. The collection includes unique images of London in Shakespeare's time, such as this view of East Cheap Market in 1598, and material related to theatre history.

4 December 2008

Over a million books can now be read online at the Open Library. This project has come on apace since I last looked at it, though it remains in beta. It aims to catalogue every book ever published, with links to where to buy, borrow or (where possible) browse it online. So far it contains over 20 million book records.

The Council for British Archaeology website has a swish new look. You can find its publications and news on buildings in the Conservation section.

2 December 2008

A group of volunteers has been transcribing Ledbury Wills and Inventories 1541-1700. Their transcripts have been helpfully put online by the Victoria County History as part of its lottery-funded project England's Past for Everyone. Another addition to my obsessive list of published inventories.

21 November 2008

Europeana, Europe's prototype digital library, museum and archive, launched yesterday and promptly crashed due to massive use. Its 2 million digital objects include film, photographs, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, books, newspapers and archival papers from Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. About half the content is French, with Britain and the Netherlands the next biggest contributers at present.

A little more detail on directories, electoral rolls and similar sources added to my introduction and page on houses, and bit about buying books. This website has avoided recommending booksellers, but I wanted to point to the range of useful material available on CD from Archive CD Books Ireland.

6 November 2008

Matthew Beckett has created an online memorial to vanished English country houses at Lost Heritage. His complete list includes those which survive in part or as ruins. For a select few he gives photographs and histories and aims to do so for every house eventually. He is keen to hear from anyone with information on the houses listed.

I have added new links to my list of online images, and my pages on maps and factories.

11 October 2008

On 7 February 1908 Edward VII appointed commissions for England, Scotland and Wales to compile inventories (detailed gazetteers) of ancient and historic monuments. The commission for England was merged with English Heritage in 1999, but those for Scotland and Wales have been celebrating their centenary this year. Since February the RCAHMS has mounted an exhibition called The First One Hundred at John Sinclair House, Edinburgh, which will be open until the end of the year. †Now its touring exhibition featuring the public's choice of Treasured Places has arrived at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh, where it will remain until 17 January.

Meanwhile the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth highlights the records arm of the RCAHMW with the exhibition The National Monuments Record of Wales: Collecting Our Past until 22 November.

10 October 2008

A short paragraph has been added to my page on parish churches to bring the story up to the present day and point to the work of The Churches Conservation Trust.

28 August 2008

My list of probate inventories in print has been refreshed. It is good to see a handful of inventories†online now, illustrating how useful these documents can be. Links to them are included in my list.

7 August 2008

The style section has been tidied up: just a few new links and pictures added to clarify terminology for the novice.

4 August 2008

Ever more topographical images are being made available online. I've been adding yet again to my list of online image collections - this time concentrating on some of our beautiful cities: Bath, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

The current issue of Archives, the journal of the British Records Association, includes two articles on architectural archives and their uses in research.†

30 July 2008

British History Online has been digitizing the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII and now has vols. 5-21 online, with an option to search all these volumes, which include records of sales of ex-monastic properties. Meanwhile among the many books digitized by Google this year is a handy list and alphabetical index to the illustrations in the Gentleman's Magazine 1731-1818, which include a number of views of buildings.

28 July 2008

Given the popularity of seaside piers (see 9 July below), many will be dismayed at the fire which broke out this morning on Weston-Super-Mare's Grand Pier, which has completely destroyed its pavillion.

9 July 2008

Two new books on seaside piers have hit the bookshops in the last few months. Maybe the appeal is that they remind us of happy childhood holidays. Chris Mawson and Richard Riding opted for the straightforward title British Seaside Piers, while Chris Foote Wood went for Walking Over the Waves: Quintessential British Seaside Piers.

Meanwhile the latest county volume has arrived in the series†by the Irish National Inventory of Architectural Heritage: An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of Limerick City.

27 June 2008

The wonderfully useful A2A (Access to Archives) has moved to a new home on the National Archives website. A2A now contains about 30 per cent of catalogues of archival collections in England and Wales. The database was last updated in April 2008 and now contains 10.3 million records relating to 9.45 million items held in 418 record offices and other repositories. The bad news is that there is no further programme for the addition of new material to the A2A site.

10 June 2008

I continue to put online my popular (as opposed to scholarly) pieces for the Bristol Magazine at Bristol Past. Another three went up today, including an article on the remarkable tiled Art Nouveau faÁade of Edward Everard's Printing Works (which I also feature on my Art Nouveau page.)

5 June 2008

English Heritage is looking for a buyer for a grand courtier house - Apethorpe Hall, Northamptonshire. Click on the link for a tour with Nick Hill through its newly-restored Jacobean interiors. †

4 June 2008

My apologies for the disappearance of my site from 1 June until today. My hosting company had severe problems with a server based in Texas. This is the first time the site has been down for any length of time. I hope that anyone needing to consult it was able to use one of the archived versions.

29 May 2008

Hard on the heels of Microsoft's announcement (see below) comes a reassurance from the British Library that its mass digitisation of out-of-copyright books under its contract with Microsoft is continuing. The library intends to make the material available on its catalogue eventually; it currently has a pilot programme running for readers at the library.

23 May 2008

Microsoft today announced the demise of its library scanning project and specialist search tools Live Search Books and Live Search Academic. That leaves Google Book Search and Google Scholar not just leading the field, but without competition.

22 May 2008

The National Library of Scotland has put online more than 70 of John Slezer's engravings from Theatrum Scotiae (1693 -). You can zoom in and pan around large versions of each engraved image.

19 May 2008

The Arts and Humanities Data Service is no longer being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. However it has a further year of funding from JISC to keep thewebsite available, and AHRC is continuing to fund the excellent Archaeology Data Service. [Note that some firewalls and ad-blockers will prevent your browser from viewing ADS properly because of the "ads" element in its url. You may need to set up your firewall to allow it.]

John Kenyon's massive bibliography of fortifications, previously published in three CBA research reports, has now been brought up to date in a single volume: Castles, Town Defences and Artillery Fortifications in the United Kingdom and Ireland: a bibliography 1945-2006 (Shaun Tayas: Donington 2008).†

I have only now found time to take a look at Gavin Stamp, Britain's Lost Cities, which came out last October. It is an attractive display of what we lost in the Blitz and enthusiastic post-war planning. A list of the cities it covers is given my bibliography of towns.

16 April 2008

Boydell recently brought out Roger Rosewell's well-reviewed†study and†gazetteer - Medieval Wall Paintings in English and Welsh Churches.

24 March 2008

1901 Census Online is now even more useful for property research. It is beta testing an address search covering all of the census resturns from 1841 to 1901 (except 1881). So far I have found it a trifle erratic, but potentially a great time saver. Search is free, but there is a charge to view and download an image of the original return.

13 February 2008

I am happy to report that there are plans to bring the excellent website Looking at Buildings back online.

9 February 2008

The fourth edition of Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (Yale University Press) is due out today. Sadly it will be the last revision of this invaluable reference work, since Howard Colvin died last December.

8 February 2008

Richard Bond of Manchester Central Library helpfully let me know about the Manchester Local Image Collection, which has been added to my ever-growing list of online image databases for specific places or regions.

Outgoing links have been checked. I am sad to see that two valuable sites have gone: Looking at Buildings, from the Pevsner guides, seems to be a recent casualty. The Drawn Evidence, formerly hosted by Dundee University, has been down for some time, but I delayed removing the link, hoping that this hugely useful database of building images from Scotland would return to life.

3 February 2008

The Dictionary of Scottish Architects provides a useful online database of information for architects known to have worked in Scotland during the period 1840-1940. It has been added to my list of dictionaries of architects, engineers and sculptors.

Google has digitised the catalogue published in 1844 of the manuscript maps, charts, plans and topographical drawings then in the British Museum and now in the British Library: vol. 1; vol 2. Since that catalogue was published there have been additions to the BL collections. Also thousands of the images themselves have been digitised by the British Library and are available online via Collect Britain. Still the catalogue remains useful. It is conveniently arranged geographically.

20 January 2008

The Mary Evans Picture Library is now managing the The Illustrated London News Picture Library, a vast collection of images, of which there is only a sample online at the ILNPL website. The Mary Evans Picture Library now includes all those images and is scanning in more material.

5 January 2008

Happy New Year to you all! The first update of the year is to my page on cathedrals, to list the massive, scholarly study of English cathedrals by Jon Cannon that came out last October. It draws on the latest research and is beautifully presented. There are helpful phase plans. Charts make it easy to compare phases of architectural activity at all the medieval cathedrals, and to compare costs.

Yet more digital collections of topographical photographs have been added to the list. It is good to see how many local councils are making such material available online.

2007

4 December 2007

I should have mentioned earlier that the National Archives will be closed from 1 to 16 December inclusive, because of building works.

2 December

Google Maps has added a terrain view, which may be helpful in seeing how a building or settlement fits into the geographical context.

30 November

Last night I attended an interesting lecture by Professor John Beckett, which made me realise that I had said nothing on my towns page about city status. That has now been rectified and a reference added to Prof. Beckett's book City Status in the United Kingdom, 1830-2002 (2005).

The current issue of The Local Historian has a useful handlist of local history websites, a few of which were new to me. One ambitious project is The Clergy of the Church of England Database, which aims to document the careers of all Church of England clergymen between 1540 and 1835. It is a work in progress,†but already contains an impressive collection of information.†Other online resources that I had not come across were†the maps from the 1910 Baedeker guide to Great Britain, Christopher Harrison's online bibliography and vocabulary of manorial courts and Christopher Currie's lecture on English Gothic carpentry.

16 November

The British Library launched a new subscription-based service today - British Library Direct Plus. This expands the existing useful service - British Library Direct, which allows users to search across 20,000 journals since 2002 for free and order full text using a credit card. Direct Plus contains 67,000 journals and 400,000 conference proceedings, stretching back to the late 19th century. At the moment BL is offering free trials to organisations only.

8 November

British History Online has an attractive new look and continues to make resources available online. Among the latest additions are all six volumes of the Catalogue of Ancient Deeds (abstracts of medieval deeds held by The National Archives), which can be searched.†

6 November

The Village of Jedburgh in 1796 by Thomas GirtonFor some months the National Galleries of Scotland have been building up their online galleries of images, which include some of their collection of topographical paintings, for example Thomas Girtin's view of the cottages of Georgian Jedburgh (right). At the moment they have images of 1,575 artworks out of a total of over 65,000, helpfully arranged so that they can be browsed by subject, as well as artist.

28 October

My list of online†newspaper archives is growing. The Guardian 1821-1975 and The Observer 1900-1975 will be available from 3 November at the Guardian Digital Archive. The intention is to extend that coverage early next year to The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003). Searching is free of charge. However, if you want to view in full or print out material you will need to subscribe to a timed access pass.

26 October

The National Library of Scotland has added several hundred regional maps of Scotland from 1856 to 1936 to its online map collection.

I have added a new site search to my front page.

21 October

New research being carried out by Atkins for English Heritage (with the support of Historic Scotland) will chart the health of the various specialisms engaged in buildings history in the UK, principally applied architectural history, buildings history and buildings archaeology. Questionnaires are being sent to practitioners, heritage bodies and training providers and are also available to download. The deadline for responses is 9th November 2007 and the results of the survey will be available in early 2008.

17 October

The website for the London, Edinburgh, and Belfast Gazettes was recently relaunched. These official newpapers of record date back to 1665 and the archive is online. They became a standard place to announce corporate insolvency and business partnerships, in addition to official notices from government, so I have added a link from my business sources page.

16 October

By shamelessly cribbing from the excellent Map History by Tony Campbell, former Map Librarian at the British Library, I have improved my list of online images and maps again.

14 October

The British Library Newspapers Website will be launched on 22 October 2007, with 1,000,000 pages of content available for use by the Further Education and Higher Education community in the United Kingdom.

The massive project to reconstruct the medieval Church of St Teilo is complete. It was dismantled from its original site at Llandeilo Tal-y-Bont and rebuilt†at the National History Museum, St Fagans, Cardiff, where it will be open to the public from Monday. It has been restored to recreate its appearance in 1520, complete with copies of wall paintings uncovered as it was dismantled. This is the only example in Britain of a medieval church that has been moved to a museum.

7 October

I've been catching up with the activities of CAMRA. The Campaign's survey of historic pub interiors moved to its own website some months ago, and more volumes of its inventory have appeared in print, so my bibliography of pubs, inns and hotels has been updated.

6 October

Philip Davis has kindly pointed me in the direction of more online databases of sites and monuments records (or historic environment records as they are now known). So my gazetteers page has had an update.

3 October

Having taken the plunge into moving pictures last month, I have now added a couple more links to slideshows from YouTube, plus links to some of these interactive panoramas from the BBC. However I'm resisting the temptation to embed more YouTube offerings into my pages, as it increases the page load time.

28 September

The popular video-sharing site YouTube now has a number of videos and slideshows of buildings all over the world, scattered amongst its other offerings. The visual quality is†varied; information on the building is often limited. However there are pearls among the dross, as you can see from the slideshow now embeded in my page on Gothic Revival architecture.

Historic New England, Wallpaper in New England provides a history and online database of †its large collection of wallpapers from the 1750s to the 1950s. Most of the Georgian examples were imported from England; there are also papers from China.

The move to this site's new domain left a few loose ends. Today I have been tidying up dead links.

26 September

At last my list of historic images available online has a section for Cornwall. A few other additions have been made to it. Also the online databases of historic photographs at the Universities of Aberdeen and St Andrews have been added to the page on university archives.

21 September

My page on castles has been expanded to consider some of the non-miliary aspects of castles.

17 September

This site has been moved to its own domain. Since the Rollyo site search has been little used, this seems like a good time to remove it. The advertising on the search results was irritating.

11 September

Thanks to the digitisation schemes by Google and MSN (and the older Project Gutenberg), the Text Archive maintained by the Internet Archive now contains over a quarter of a million items. Among the British and Irish publications are local history, volumes published by local record societies, and historic periodicals such as Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Use Google Book Search to locate titles or search the full text.

My page on parsonages has grown again.

8 September

The Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society published Lynn Pearson, The Tile Gazetteer: A Guide to British Tile and Architectural Ceramics Locations in 2005 covering England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. Now it†also provides an updated online database.

Continuing the theme of tiles, I have added a little something on W. J. Neatby's work to my page on Art Nouveau.

28 August

A few additions have been made to my list of online image sources, thanks to Project Gutenberg making ever more out-of-print books available online.

24-6 August

A minor reorganisation and correction of my list of English national archives was in order, to keep up to date. A few additions have been made to the text and bibliography of my brief history of villages.

17 August

Until 15 October the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History is showing an exhibition titled Whitewash and Thatch, formed from a collection of plans and elevations of thatched cottages, made in the first half of the 20th century by visiting Swedish scholars and by students at the UCD School of Architecture. The exhibition was first shown in the Country Life branch of the museum at Turlough Park, which normally houses the collection. An entry for the Country Life branch has been added to my page on Irish archives.

15 August

German translation software company Babylon now offers a collection of free English to Latin and Latin to English dictionaries, which can be used online or downloaded. A link has been added from my manscript aids page.

9 August

Dr Rachel Cosgrave, Deputy Archivist, Lambeth Palace Library has drawn my attention to the joint online catalogue for the manuscript and archive collections held at Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre. It is a work in progress, but already includes records of HM Commissioners for Building New Churches, 1818-1856.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas continues with the second volume on Belfast now out. The volume on Armargh will be published in October.

5 August

Back in May the National Archives lauched a wiki called Your Archives, intended for users†to contribute their knowledge of archival sources throughout the UK, though the focus is strongly on the those held by the National Archives. The wiki is still in beta, but already has 60 articles in the category Monuments and buildings. Some make available unpublished guides to sources for certain types of government-funded buildings, such as prisons. I have linked to these from my page on public buildings. Also an article by Aidan Lawes on sources for the dissolution of monasteries and chantries has been republished; I have linked to it from relevant pages.

2 August

The collection of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales can now be searched online through its new database Coflein. It records thousands of archaeological sites, monuments, buildings and maritime sites in Wales, as well as indexing the drawings, manuscripts and photographs held in the NMRW archive collections. Not all information in the huge collection is included, but some photographs have been digitised and more will gradually become available online.

My slim page on parsonages has been expanded a shade. One or two new titles have been added to my bibliographies and links checked.

29 July

Although the RIBA Library is now closed for repainting, access to the extensive photograph collection is available online via RIBApix.

Bedfordshire Libraries have put together How We Built Bedfordshire: a guide to historic buildings in the county, with modern and historic images.

26 July

Between 2007 and 2009 the Bodleian Library intends to digitise over 65,000 items from its vast John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera, which includes trade cards and other business ephemera. The first images should be available by the end of this year. In the meantime there is an online text catalogue.

The British Architectural Library, at the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), will be closing for reburbishment for 7 weeks during August and September. The last day of opening will be Saturday 28 July. The huge RIBA drawings collection has now been moved to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where items from it can be viewed in the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms.

24 July

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland will launch The Sir Basil Spence Archive in August, to coincide with the centenary of the architect's birth. This archive comprises 40,000 drawings, photographs, models and personal documents donated by the Spence family to RCAHMS. In August a touring exhibition will draw on the archive, ending at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh from October to February 2008.

13 June

An introduction has been added to my style guide.

29 May

A paragraph on the department store and its antecedents has been added to the page on shops.

27 April

Information on trade cards has been expanded a trifle.

22 April

The National Archives now offers an online tutorial in advanced Latin, to follow on from the Beginner's Latin that it has been offering for some time. I have now separated Latin tutorials from dictionaries on my page listing aids to manuscript reading.

Over the last month I have a few titles to bibliographies here and there.

23 March

More indexes of historic local newspapers are coming online, so I now have a list on my local libraries page. I look forward to the launch of the British Library's massive newspaper digitalisation project, promised for the middle of 2007.

22 March

From this month until June the Irish Architectural Archive is hosting Decorating the Georgian Interior: an exhibition of selected drawings from the National Library's collection of designs by Michael Stapleton (1747-1801), the most skilled stuccodor working in the Adam style that dominated Dublin interior decoration in the last decades of the 18th century. There is to be an associated book. The Stapleton Collection, Designs for the Irish neoclassical interior by Conor Lucey will be published on 29 March.

20 March

This site now has its own domain - buildinghistory.org. That should be easier to remember! At the moment it simply redirects to the current site. I hope to move the site properly once I have hosting organised (and can find the time.)

I have only just realised that in November 2006 the Manorial Documents Register expanded its online coverage to include Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire north of the sands.

My page on monasteries has been updated to include links to various monastic records now available online. My page on Archives in North America has been updated to include the manuscript collection of Harvard Law School, which includes c.1000 English deeds, calendared online.

23 February

The Archaeology Data Service continues to expand its online offerings. It now has quite a collection of the county-by-county Historic Town Assessments which are being supported by English Heritage. Also the booklets published last year on historic farmsteads by English Heritage, The Countryside Agency and The University of Gloucestershire can be downloaded from ADS in pdf format.

ADS is also hosting the searchable online version of vols. 3 and 4 of the Bibliography of Vernacular Architecture and the Cruck Database for the Vernacular Architecture Group.†

13 February

The useful A Vision of Britain has now digitised the 1610 edition in English of William Camden's Britannia - the first published topographical survey of the British Isles. A link to it has been added to my ever-growing list of primary sources in print.

11 February

My page on railway architecture has been expanded to include the London Underground.

8 February

My page on banks has been expanded. Links have been checked site-wide.

7 February

Philip Davis has just drawn my attention to the fact that his website The Gatehouse - an†online gazetteer of castles and other fortifications in England and Wales 1100-1600 - now has a list of licences to crenellate.

British History Online digitalised additional medieval sources in January. Staffordshire was particularly well served through the addition of a number of volumes of Collections for a History of Staffordshire.

2006

11 December 2006

My coverage of building regulations and the records they have generated has hitherto been sketchy in the extreme. So I've written a history of building control in the British Isles. It is in scholarly format, which is a new departure for Researching Historic Buildings. The notes pop up in the screen version, but will print out as footnotes.

7 December

In November last year Microsoft announced its library scanning initiative. Now tens of thousands of out-of-copyright books from several libraries, including the British Library, have been made available online through this scheme. They can be searched via the new Live Search Books.†Clicking on a result brings up the book to read online or download.

26 November

Because of the overlap between architecture and civil engineering, I have added the Institution of Civil Engineers to national archives in England and bridges, and the Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers to the page of similar works on architects.

25 November

The latest volume of the†Irish Historic Towns Atlas is out. It covers Dundalk.

23 November

Jane Wardropper, PhD student at the University of Birmingham, has discovered that 40 hospitals in Great Britain were built by industrialists for their workers before the National Health Service. That is worth adding to my page on charity buildings.

The excellent British History Online grows ever more useful. It now has online Victorian OS maps at scale 1:2500 for Birmingham, Cardiff, Chester, Chichester, Colchester, Coventry, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lichfield, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salisbury, Southampton, Winchester, Worcester, York and much of central London, as well as the complete 1:10,560 series of OS maps for Great Britain, which was already online at Old Maps. Other material freshly digitised in the last month or two includes:

19 November

The bibliographies of public buildings have been enlarged and amalgamated.

13-14 November

The latest version of Google Earth offers a small selection of historical maps from the David Rumsey Map Collection, including England and Wales in 1790 (John Rocque) and London in 1843 (B.R. Davies). These are available via the featured content option.

The page on maps is updated accordingly, and some unconnected revisions and additions made to the pages on†towns and theatres.

30 October

The bibliographies for Gothic and Gothic Revival have been updated

27 October

A little more added to Art Nouveau.

22 October

Generally I try to restrict myself to listing books in my bibliographies. If I were to include articles as well, the bibliographies would become overwhelmingly large, not to mention a full-time job to maintain. Instead I refer my readers to the excellent online The British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography (which covers much architectural history.)

However I have made a few exceptions for specialised topics. Dovecotes has now joined them. This page has proved popular since it was created. I hope that the improved version, with expanded description, history and bibliography, will be more useful.

18 October

I should have mentioned earlier this year that almost all English public libraries now offer access to Oxford Reference Online, which includes the excellent Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004; online updates 3 times a year) and A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 2nd edn. (2006). †

With books coming online at a dizzying rate, I thought I'd add a few clues to locating them. See the new online section of finding the book you want.

25 September

The page on inns, hotels and pubs has been beefed up.

24 September

New material this month at British History Online includes Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, 4th edn (1849), the first two volumes of John Hobson Matthews (ed.) Cardiff Records (1898, 1900), Register and Records of Holm Cultram (the cartulary and other records of a Cistercian house in Cumberland) and more volumes of the Survey of London.

The Irish National Inventory of Architectural Heritage has published two more county volumes: Offaly and Kilkenny.

The Papar Project is researching all the places in the Northern Isles of Scotland (Orkney and Shetland) and Caithness which have the name Papay, meaning 'the island of the priests' and Papil, meaning 'the settlement of the priests'. A note on this added to my page on early sources for The Church.

18 September

The new Microsoft Internet search, called Windows Live, is now fully functional. It surpasses even the excellent Google Maps in its usefulness for looking at buildings from the air. Try a local search and then click 'maps'. For many metropolitan areas, you are offered a choice of map, aerial view and bird's-eye view from various directions. For the latter the scale is large enough to see roof detail.

9 September

The Royal Irish Academy has a new online exhibition As I Walked Out ... a moving photographic memoir of Dublin in ruins, May 1916, by T.J. Westropp.

6 September

Though Britain did not feel the full effects of Art Nouveau on its architecture, I have added a page on the style.

Google is now offering a News Archive Search which goes back 200 years, in partnership with the biggest names of the American press and UK's Guardian and Independent. The results include both free and pay-to-view material. It you don't care to pay, you could simply note the details and track down the article at your local library in many cases. So this is another helpful tool for researchers.

1 September

The bibliography for villages has been updated and expanded.

29 August

The international union library catalogue WorldCat can now be searched direct, as well as via Google and Yahoo!

The bibliography of historic interiors now has a small sub-section on wallpapers.

15 August

The bibliography for pubs and inns has been updated.

11 August

The list of probate inventories in print is growing ever longer, so I have broken it up by county.

9 August

The final touches (I hope) have been made to the mini-redesign. The "skip to content" link top right is to enable screen readers to by-pass the top menu. Some images have been re-scanned so that they show up equally well in either the standard or the easy-read style.

4 August

The National Archives has made The Domesday Book available online. Search for a place or person is free, but downloading a page costs £3.50. What you get for your money is a colour images of a Domesday folio, along with the Editions Alecto translation. This is considerably cheaper than the similar service that has been offered since 2004 by the commercial Domesday Extracts. However it is aimed more at those who want something attractive to hang on the wall than t he serious researcher. An individual entry pulled out of its context is of limited use. So I will carry on using the Phillimore printed edition. Digital versions of the complete work are available from both Phillimore and Alecto on CD-ROM.

31 July

Added a few more regional studies to the bibliography on vernacular architecture.

30 July

And now you can see the point of the easy read option. It frees me to add background patterns to the standard version. These might present problems to the reader with poor vision, even if they set their browser to enlarge the text. I promise that the penny plain version will never have background images. That more or less completes my recent mini-redesign. Most of the work has gone on under the hood, coding to assist screen readers.

27 July

As you can see top right, there is now an an option to read this site in large print, light on dark. The style switcher requires javascript to be enabled. Alternatively those using Firefox or Opera can use the browser view menu to change styles.

25 July

Catching up with progress at British History Online, I see that all six volumes of Old and New London (1878) are now online, together with the first three volumes of Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Glasgow, additional sources for London and ever more volumes of the Victoria County History of England .

10 July

As predicted Archive Grid now requires a subscription. This is disappointing. I have removed it from the list of combined online archive catalogues, since I don't want to point people towards a charging database, when those of most use to researchers in the British Isles remain free.

Chores done. Links checked. Site validated.

7 July

All the Magalotti images have now been scanned, apart from that of Maiden Castle, and two additional views of Audley End. The view of London and Westminster is too large to scan in full, but a part of the Westminster stretch is included.

5 July

For those who want to see the full picture, I have added a couple more of the larger Magalotti images. Navigation has been improved for that section. I may scan a few more of these interesting images.

Some formatting has been done especially for those of you using the Firefox or Opera browsers. You can now see the titles of images by hovering over them with the mouse, as those using Internet Explorer could always do. Those using Opera can use the arrows on their browser to navigate books and articles with multiple pages, such as Inns of Old London or Heritage of Mercy: Medieval hospitals.

25 June

The Manuscripts and Special Collections of the University of Nottingham now provides an online tutorial in manuscripts skills, covering the dating of old records, and understanding deeds and manorial records. It includes a glossary, bibliographies and quizzes to check your progress. This is a useful addition to the growing number of online guides and dictionaries listed on my manuscript aids page.

20-22 June

The staff of archives, libraries and museums in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Wiltshire and Worcestershire have been busy putting maps and topographical images online. See the new sections for those counties in my list of online image collections plus additions for Hampshire and London: Lambeth Archives now has a large part of its huge collection of photographs and other images online.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council launched a combined collection search last October at Discover. (Yes - I'm late with the news.) It includes material from English Heritage's ViewFinder and the British Library's Collect Britain. Search can be frustrating, as text, image and bibliographic databases are mingled, with no easy way to filter the search by type of material. However you can use the detailed search option to specify only results with thumbnail images.

16 June

The National Archives has devised a handy online currency converter to translate yesterday's money values into today's. This will be a boon and a blessing to researchers delving into building accounts.

Meanwhile a shadow has fallen over the Archive Grid. Back in March I announced the arrival of this ambitious international effort to create a unified online archive catalogue for the English-speaking world. Now the body that created it - RLG - is merging with the Online Computer Library Center from 1 July. So all that they can promise is that the Archive Grid will remain free until 30 June.

3 June

The Society of Antiquaries of London now appears in my list of National Archives in England. It should have been listed last year, when its programme of online cataloguing made its archive far more accessible to non-Fellows.

26 May

My bibliography of place-name studies has been updated to reflect the current research on Irish place names.

22 May

You can now search over 28 million catalogue references, documents and archive locations in one easy step. The National Archives has unveiled its new Global Search, which simultaneously brings up results from its own catalogue and website, Access to Archives (A2A), the National Register of Archives (NRA) and Archon.

21 May

My bibliography for nonconformist chapels has been updated, and related organisations given their own heading. Links checked.

17 May

I'm afraid I keep adding to the already lengthy bibliography on the history of towns.

8-9 May

Bath Past and Bristol Past now have their own search boxes, so you can search just those sub-sites, though they can also be searched from the search boxes on Researching Historic Buildings.

A little more detail has been added to the list of ecclesiastical surveys, to clarify the geographical areas covered by each.

5 May

The now-departed search page had a few clues to navigating this website, which have been worked into a quick prompter for the front page.

The Royal Historical Society's online guide to serial Texts and Calendars (see news 9 March below) is now complete.

2 May

Library Ireland has put online a large number of out-of-print books and articles about Ireland, including Victorian directories and the useful Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837), published by Samuel Lewis. Meanwhile his A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846) has gone online at British History Online.

25 April

The search page has now been replaced by the more convenient search box, which you will find on most pages. Courtesy of Rollyo and Yahoo, it offers options to search this site, or this one together with a selection of others useful for British and Irish architectural history, or the whole Web.

23 April

Sharman Kadish is constantly adding to our understanding of the British synagogue. I have linked to a bibliography on the topic that he has compiled, as it is fuller than mine. And I can't resist mentioning his gazetteerJewish Heritage in England: An Architectural Guide, although it is not out until September.

The 1841 census returns are now online with later ones at Ancestry.co.uk (England, Wales, The Channel Isles and Isle of Man) and Scotland's People (Scotland).

19 April

British Library Online Newspaper Archive bids fair to be an excellent resource for historical research. The demonstration model is limited to a selection of national newspapers and years, which is enough to see the potential. A word of warning: it requires Internet Explorer for full functionality.

The British Library is one of the partners of the UK Web Archiving Consortium, which will be archiving this website in future. So should the day come when I can no longer maintain it, at least a copy will remain available. The site is already archived, along with millions of others, by the Internet Archive.

12 April

The removal of the NGfL logo has left some space in the left menu to try out a Rollyo search box. If this works well it could replace the search page.

10 April

The National Grid for Learning is closing down on 13 April. So the links I had to it on every page have now disappeared.

4 April

Continuing work on my history of towns, which needed a word or two at least on the Jacobean towns of Ireland. While I was in settlement mood, I added a little on lost villages to the history of villages.

3 April

A bibliography of historic interiors has been created, my bibliography of vernacular architecture has been beefed up and a scattering of additions made to other bibliographies. My history of towns has grown a little longer, to take it into the new towns of the post-war era.

31 March

My redesign of this website in November 2004 seems to have triggered some filter in Google. I thought the problem would be temporary, but 16 months on, it is still almost impossible to find this site using Google. I therefore recommend the use of another search engine for those who wish to return and do not have the site bookmarked.

20 March

Updated my mills page to add some sources for mills in Ireland. On that topic the March/April issue of British Archaeology has an article on the remarkable excavation at Raystown, County Meath, which has uncovered remains of no less than eight mills, dating from the 7th to the 10th centuries.

11 March

An ambitious addition to the growing array of unified online archive catalogues is Archive Grid. This is an international collaboration, which pulls together collection descriptions from thousands of libraries, museums, and archives across the English-speaking world.

Updated my image indexes to include a few for Yorkshire. As this page was getting so long, I have removed the double-listing under region and period. Sources should now be under one or the other. While my mind was on Yorkshire, I updated my entry for the Borthwick Institute Archives, which now has a useful online guide to the wealth of material it holds for churches of the Archdiocese of York.

Links to background information have been added to my page on medieval trefi and there has been a slight revamp of my towns bibliography, with a couple of regional studies added.

9 March

Back in December I reported that The Royal Historical Society had taken over responsibility for the online supplement to Mullins, Texts and Calendars and Stevenson, Scottish Texts and Calendars. In fact the society is doing better than that. It is making use of its online Bibliography of British and Irish History to provide full lists of serial record publications, both the volumes covered by Mullins and Stevenson and more recent ones. Record societies and bodies are listed alphabetically, with a link to a list of their publications drawn from the bibliography. So far the list covers A-M.

7 March

Links have been checked site-wide. One or two more items have been added to bibliographies.

26 February

Returned to town walls to add a morsel on gates.

25 February

I've tinkered with my maps page: a little addition and revision.

24 February

The introduction to the development of market halls has been expanded. A few more references have been added there and elsewhere.

11 February

I'm afraid that I have added yet more to my already lengthy bibliography of towns, and plugged a gap or two in town walls.

9 February

The National Archives now provides Beginner's Latin: an online tutorial on the Latin used in documents between 1086 and 1733. Link added to my list of aids to reading, translating and understanding manuscripts.

6 February

A section on concrete and mortar has been added to the bibliography of building materials.

4 February

My text on chapels has been built up to give a better introduction to the various types of chapel.

3 February

I've just noticed that an electronic catalogue of enclosure maps of England and Wales is online, to go with the book by Roger J. P. Kain, John Chapman, and Richard R. Oliver, The Enclosure Maps of England and Wales, 1595-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2004). A useful addition to my pages on maps and farm buildings.

30 January

The site has a new printout style. By the magic of CSS, if you print out pages, you get black on white text, without the navigation menus at the top and left-hand side. Images will still print in colour, if you set your printer to colour. (This was available for most pages from 17 January, but it was completed today.)

25 January

Colin Thom of the Survey of London tells me that more volumes are now online. Vols. 31-32 (St James's), 33-34 (Soho) and 39-40 (Grosvenor Estate, Mayfair) are now available at British History Online, joining vols. 29-30 which went online in early December. Rapid progress! It's part of an English Heritage-funded project to digitise all 45 of the parish volumes, which should be completed by September 2008. My gazetteers and towns pages have been updated accordingly.

He also nudged me in the direction of his new book Researching London's Houses. That makes a useful addition to my increasing pile of house research guides.

20 January

A question on estate villages led me to expand on the topic just a shade and add one or two more references.

3 January

Happy New Year! Geoff Evans has just pointed out to me that English Monastic Archives is up and running. A team at University College London has created online databases of monastic houses, their properties and archives. The project is still in progress and there is much more information yet to add, but I am delighted that UCL has made it available in its provisional state, for it is remarkably useful as it stands.