Old houses are wonderful things with lots of stories to tell. Living in one gives you a connection to the generations of families/people before you.
One of the most rewarding things about an old house is learning about its history and the life of its occupants. You will find out some history just by living there, but to find out more there are ways to investigate, tips are below.
Much of the work is offline as you visit libraries, chatting to people and walking around the town for clues. For many of the old houses left in the town Torquay Museum Without Walls has done much of the research of our historic houses.
To get started:
1. Team Up
Chat with us to see how much research we have done. Why not team up with us because your house is one piece of the big jigsaw that makes up Torquay. Chat to our friendly group of volunteers to seek what may be in our archives. You can contact us at [email protected] Chat amongst the neighbours. There are still many early families living in Torquay. They will be happy to share their memories of previous occupants.
2. Why was your home built?
Was the house built as a permanent or holiday home? Was it transported in or built on the land? Look for stylistic clues to when it was built for whom. Much of the old town still contains the old holiday shacks.
3. Who lived in my house?
Finding out who lived in your house can be very exciting. Work backwards from most recent occupants. Torquay electoral rolls won’t be much help because the streets were not numbered until the 1960s. Using old maps helps Contact the Titles Office of the history of titles. The titles will cost you money, the value depending on the historical nature of the property.
4. Bring your research to life
Once you have built up a more in-depth picture of your old house and the history it holds, it is time to find out who those names are. Contact us at Torquay Museum Without Walls or check out further on this website. We have an extensive biography page of the people who played a part in building the town.
If you are unable to do your research, contact us and we may have the answer amongst the 1,000 plus old titles we have in our database. Some of these belong to the original owner of the land dating back to 1866. We have also been collecting photos of the old Torquay houses that have not survived the redevelopment and would be interested in any contribution to our collection.