Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Move over Sherlock Holmes…..

The girls are sleuthing! K and I have been spending every spare moment (and a few that weren’t spare and should have been taken up with boring duties) in the wonderful old Africana section of the library, tracking down the origins of some of the old houses in our area. It is so absorbing, and we are relishing going through fabulous old books and documents….

like this book of handwritten records of building plans submitted to the municipality in from 1895 to 1899! (You can click to see them bigger)
And these intriguing yearbooks which go back to the mid 1980’s, and record the name of every citizen in the town.
Every second or third year, they also have street directories, and from the consecutive dates we can trace the growth of the town, and pinpoint more or less when certain streets started being built on.
There are old voters rolls, which are handy because they give addresses to the names we have found, and other lists of all the trades and occupations, and who did what.

So far we have established for 100 percent certain that Croick Cottage was built and occupied by 1902, and rented to a tobacconist called Lewis from 1903, but we think it goes back to the late 80’s. we just need to confirm some plot numbers, so the next step is a visit in the next few days to the town planning department.
Watch this space!....................

NOW AND THEN.........
In the meantime, as I find old pictures of the area, I am trying to go to the same viewpoint and photograph it as it looks now. So here is the first in the series ……..
A house on the corner of St Stephens street and Sherlock street, in 1880 and today!

4 comments:

Sheila said...

I love this kind of thing. The before and after photos are great. It would be hard to do that in our town there have been so many changes.

CJ said...

Great photo's of the records! Beware, though! This can be thoroughly addictive, haha. Old buildings (now and then - in pictures) is a fascinating subject and something we did with the two family homes on the Reef - sadly all our pics were stolen - we had them in storage with some other mementos!

RUTH said...

The before and after photos are going to be interesting to see. Do you have to get special permission to see such old books at your library?Rx

Suzi-k said...

glad you guys like the idea of the before and after, because i have been having such fun finding examples! cj, such a pity about your pix, they do help the old memory as time goes by!
Ruth, I was surprised too, we had free access to the lovely old books, but i am told there are some that are so fragile they can't be handled and are in storage.