Exterior view of women and children posing outside a thatched cottage
Ramsbury, Wiltshire © Historic England BB97/11952
Ramsbury, Wiltshire © Historic England BB97/11952

Using Your Research

Practical information about the style and construction of your home will be useful for carrying out good maintenance and repair, while understanding the significance of your building can enhance the sense of community and also guide your ideas about any changes you wish to make.

Understanding significance

Knowing what is significant about your home - whether it's listed, in a conservation area, or simply an older building - is important if you are considering making changes to it.

You may need permission, especially if your home is listed or in a conservation area (see our section entitled What Permission Might I Need?) and you will need to show that the changes you propose will be sympathetic to its character and surroundings. Your research can be useful when you apply for that consent.

Making changes

If you are thinking about making changes to your home, it can be useful to find out what changes have already been made over the years. Many older buildings will have been added to or adapted over their lifetime. Later additions may be built from different materials or other methods of construction may have been used.

Knowing what materials your house is made of, and how it was made, will help you maintain it efficiently and decide what changes you can make. See our section on Making Changes to Your Home.

Keeping a record

You should keep a record of the information you have collected. Not only is it of practical use, it's also interesting both for current and future generations. If you're selling your home, it could make an interesting scrapbook for a prospective buyer. Local schools, history projects or archives could also be interested in what you find out.

Missing Pieces Project

Every snapshot and story you can add to the National Heritage List for England is an important piece of the big picture. The more pieces we have, the better we can work together to protect what makes these places special. To participate, sign up and contribute to the Missing Pieces Project.