Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hidden House History

If your home could tell its story, imagine what it might reveal...

The History Channel and present Hidden House History, a project which sets out to help unlock the real stories within our homes. Including a television series, summer road shows and an exciting new website launching at the end of May. The experts show you how to unearth documents, find architectural evidence and follow the clues to answer questions such as when and why was the house built, what was there before, what did it originally look like and who lived there?

For each property the team consider four different elements:

People – who built the house, who lived there before and what are their stories?

Community – how does the building fit into the context of the local community, why was it built in a certain place or in a certain style, what is its place in history?

Architecture – what are the unique or interesting features of the building, the common features of different types of houses and the reasons for particular designs?

Scientific Investigation – scientific ‘detective’ work and forensics to date wallpaper and paint, examine the building materials used and create a timeline of technology used in our homes.

The experts on the case

Dr Nick Barratt’s (Who Do You Think You Are? and History Mysteries) mission is to discover the stories of the people who made the building a home through the years. He uses public archive material (such as census records and title deeds), personal archives (such as home movies and photographs) and people (historians, previous owners and their descendants) to create a family tree of the house and piece together the story of why it was built, former owners and occupants, what happened there and why.

Dr Jonathan Foyle’s (Time Team and History Mysteries) assignment is to investigate the building itself. Jonathan looks for architectural features which reveal how and why each building has changed over time. He uses new technology, forensics, mapping and archaeology to chart the house’s development since it was built. And he turns the clock back to reveal what the building originally looked like, how rooms were used, decorated and lived in and how domestic technology has evolved through the centuries.


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