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Your home’s hidden history

Donna Ferguson
How much do you really know about the place you live?

Whether you want information about a property you are buying or just want to know more about the property you are living in, here’s our  guide to 23 of the most fascinating and revealing websites for property owners...

The history of your house
Using the wonderful collections of old maps available from,, and you can find out about your home’s history.

It’s also worth doing an ‘exact phrase’ search for your address in the London and Edinburgh Gazette, and applying to the Land Registry for information using form HC1 (PDF).

Finally, if you think your property may have been built between 1841 and 1911, you can research its history online using the national census records. Search for your address, and you can see who was living in your property each year the census was taken, what age they were, and what their occupation was. (You can then trace their individual history back and forth through the census records if you wish.)

How ‘walkable’ your house is
Is it easier to walk, drive or take the public transport where you live compared with other parts of the UK? Well you can find out using Type in your address and you’ll get a ‘walk score’ rating how easy it is to accomplish errands on foot from your house, compared to other places in the UK.

Risk of flooding
How likely is flooding in your postcode? Well using maps from the Environment Agency you can find out. You can also see the nearest pollution hotspots, the quality of the water of nearby outdoor bathing sites, and nearby historic and current landfill sites.

Give yourself nightmares about crime near your house using the map on It lists the amount of crimes committed within a mile of your house (or you can draw your own area) over any month of the year, and breaks them down by type.

You can view historical data going back to 2010 and see whereabouts on the map the crime was committed, which could help you decide which streets or places to avoid late at night! You can also see police outcomes and progress recorded, and view how crime levels in your area have changed over the past year.

There’s also a grisly murder map for Londoners, which shows where murders took place in London and what exactly happened, using contemporary court reports. Zoom into your house on the map and click on the pins to see the faces of the victims and their murderers.

What your home sounds like
You can listen to a sound map of your neighbourhood from the British Library to hear recordings of wildlife and environmental sounds near your house, as well as music and regional accents.

Alternatively, if you live in London, check out the London Sound Survey, and listen to the weird and wonderful noises local people have recorded happening near your house at night and in the day.

How ‘multi-cultural’ is your neighbourhood?
You can find this out using the Office of National Statistics (ONS) data map. See the percentage of people who are white, Asian, black, Chinese, mixed or ‘other’ in your borough, according to ONS data.

You can also find details about the religions of people in your electoral ward using, and use this language map to see what percentage of your neighbours speak different languages.

And allows Londoners to view in detail the different nationalities of people who live nearby (it’s best to select ‘hybrid’ view on the map).

Did the Nazi’s attack your street?
Find out if your house was bombed during the Blitz using It maps the site of every bomb that fell in London during the World War II. You can see the date the bomb fell and any further details that are available, including any historic images.

How clean is your street?
Monitor the condition of the streets near your house using The site allows people to report anti-social behaviour crimes like fly-tipping and graffiti, as well as potholes, street lights and rubbish problems, to the council.

Use it to see how much your neighbours care and look after your local streets, and what local problems are currently being reported!

Are your neighbours loaded?
Check the financial profiles of your neighbours using’s postcode checker. It shows you the average credit scores of people in your postcode, and how this compares to the rest of the UK.

It also breaks down the typical family composition of your neighbourhood, the average age range and qualifications, and the average income levels.

What lives in your area
Find out about wildlife habitats near your house using This interactive map lists the different types of grass and woodland near your postcode and whether it is an ancient or traditional site, as well as categorising land near you as bogland, heathland, upland, sand dunes and mudflats!

What’s it worth now?
Finally, don’t forget you can check how much your or your neighbours’ homes sold for using, or get an estimate of the current value of your home using