How to write a street history

  1. Be simple.

 Avoid multiple adjectives and long sentences.  Avoid sentimentality e.g. “Sadly, she passed away”.  Better “she died”

  1. Don’t make assumptions.

Unless you can back up an assertion, don’t make it or make clear it is a speculation

  1. Be informal.

Contractions such as “wasn’t” and “don’t” are OK but avoid chat and slang.  Avoid commenting on your own personal reactions.

  1. Be impersonal

Avoid using “I”, “me” and “my” but you can use “we”.

  1. Be direct

Use the active rather than the passive tense.
“He peeled the potatoes.” rather than “The potatoes were peeled by him.”

  1. Tenses

Use the past tense for events that happened in the past, e.g. “By 1893 he had three children.” but the present for now, e.g. “Reading the census report it is apparent that he had etc.”

  1. Be specific

This is a “street” history. More general information about the development of Norwood and conservation areas outlining architectural features is included in the “About Norwood” section of the website.

  1. Use the Guardian style guide

If not sure about terminology or grammar: e.g. if suddenly unsure whether or not to use a hyphen with an adverb or an apostrophe with “lean-tos”, go to

  1. Captions

Always give captions to the pictures you use. This is how a picture caption has to be written: The title then comma and space, then the year in which the photo was taken, if necessary and then a full stop followed by the photo’s reference, no punctuation at the end.

Example   Aerial View of Rockmount Road, May, 2019.  Remember to put a full stop after the year. If there is no year, put the full stop after the title. If you need to explain what a framed part of the picture is put it after the title within brackets.

Example   Exterior view of 5 Rockmount Road (showing stained glass panels in front door), May, 2019.

  1. References

Always give references to sources of for your information. Although not an academic work we must do this. This includes internet sources.

  1. Settings

It would be good if everything came with the same settings (i.e. margins, A4 font type and size).  We would recommend size 12 font and Arial font type.

  1. End Notes/Foot Notes

Use ‘Citations’ rather than ‘Foot Notes’ for referencing sources used.

  1. Photos/Images

Keep photographs to a reasonable size.  You should indicate where you wish to include them in the street history <p> but save them in a separate folder to be uploaded through media on the Word Press website.

  1. Maps

Keep map extracts to the actual street and small surrounding area rather than a wider area. Identify where in the street history you wish to locate maps <m> and save in a separate folder uploading through media later. A location map will be included at the beginning of each street history.

15. Page Numbers/Footers and Headers

Avoid page numbers and using ‘footers’ and ‘headers’

  1. Thanking people

Do not thank people for census, maps, plans, photos etc unless they own the originals, even if they provided you with copies but you may thank them for their assistance.


 If you want to introduce a table within a street history, don’t insert it into the Word document, put the relevant Microsoft Excel document into a separate folder and identify on the street history <t> where you wish the table to be inserted

  1. Bulleted or numbered lists

If you want a Bulleted List, just create them in Word.

If you want a Numbered List, prefix the first line with <n> and then type the rest of the numbered list manually. But don’t type tabs, only use a space after the dash or the number.

  1. Copyright

Copyright:  For maps the rule is 70 years after the first publication.  Crown copyright, in the case of maps, applies for only 50 years.  Photographs published after 1923, but before 1978 are protected for 95 years from the date of publication. If the work was created, but not published, before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Please do NOT include screen captures from the National Newspaper Archive as they are strictly copyright.  You may quote sections verbatim and give the source.  (Which newspaper & date).

20.  Quotations

Use single quotation marks rather than double

Street history framework

    Maps and Land Ownership

  • Location
  • Relate to surrounding streets
  • Previous land use and change
  • Reason for development
  • Insert extracts from maps to show development and location but indicate where to be inserted in the street history <m> and save in separate folder.
  • Who owned the land?
  • Who developed the land?
  • Who sold the land?
  • Include “Citations” at the end of this section

      Building of the street

  • Identify who built houses in the street and dates
  • Give information about the builders when possible
  • Identify ownership patterns. Locate the local authority rate books, which would give this information, together with the name of the owner of the property. (Rate Books show owners and occupiers) Add to this any material from street directories about who may have owned the buildings rather than who lived in them.
  • Amenities/services/utilities (which, when, where). Any records of when electricity, gas, mains drains, lights etc were brought to the street
  • Street Furniture – street names, lamp posts, pillar boxes, telephone boxes, streetlights.
  • Include “Citations” at the end of this section


  • Identify types of properties built in the street
  • Include photos to show types of properties built and dates
  • Identify typical architectural features of properties built
  • Include photos to show individual features
  • Include plans to show interior layout of properties
  • Include “Citations” at the end of this section

      Social History

  • Social and economic – social status
  • Conditions e.g. density, sanitation
  • Mobility
  • Households including entertainments
  • Social life
  • Disputes/scandals
  • Analysis of census and street directory spreadsheets
  • Trade in the street
  • Include “Citations” at the end of this section


  • Notable and others. E.g. People who stayed a long time
  • Unusual trades
  • Include “Citations” at the end of each resident’s description section


  • Written or oral histories of current or former street residents
  • Photos or other memorabilia
  • Blank permission form available in “Getting Involved” section of the websiteunder “Resources” section
  • Include “Citations” at the end of this section


  • Residents who served in wars
  • Evidence of war damage in the street
  • Rebuilding of the street as a result of war damage
  • Include “End Notes” at the end of this section

      Census and Street Directories

  • Completed Census spreadsheets up to 1939
  • Completed Street Directory spreadsheets
  • Original Census and Street Directory sheets
  • Blank census and street directory forms available in “Getting Involved” section of the website under “Resources” section

      Significant Buildings

  • Identify buildings in the street of importance – schools, churches, shops, factories, public houses.
  • Include photos/images of important buildings
  • Include memories of important buildings
  • Include “Citations” at the end of this section

      Significant Events

  • Identify important events that took place in the street – street parties, royal events.
  • Include “Citations” at the end of this section