Northampton has produced many notable Northamptonians, some of whom lived in large houses, country estates and castles, while others lived in more modest homes in the countryside or in the streets of its various towns.
At the time of the Lloyd George Domesday Survey, in the second decade of the 1900s, those who were heads of households in this East Midlands county would have been recorded by the surveyors of the Inland Revenue Valuation Office in this huge survey. The Lloyd George Domesday Survey has been made fully searchable on TheGenealogist from scanned images of the IR58 record field books and associated large scale OS maps that are preserved at The National Archives. With this resource at our fingertips let us look for the noteworthy Northamptonian, Beeby Thompson (1849-1931).
Thompson had an interesting life. He was the county’s leading geologist, a curator of fossils at Northampton Museum and had prospected for oil in Peru, Angola, Brazil, as well as in the Caribbean. A founder member of the Northamptonshire Natural History Society he had been the first Principal of Northampton College of Science and Technology, and inspired Walter Crick to study science. Crick, a Northampton shoe manufacturer, would jointly publish an article with Charles Darwin in the latter’s last publication thirteen days before the great man’s death in 1882.
Mr Beeby Thompson was living at 67 Victoria Road at the time of the survey, as we are able to see by performing a search for his name in this record set on The Genealogist. The results provide us with a transcription of the Lloyd George records in which Thompson’s house is found in the St Giles Parish of the city. We are able to read in the records that he is both the owner and the occupier of the house at this time.
If we then click the icon to view the original page, we see a digital scan of the field book that refers to this particular house. We learn from this that B. Thompson occupies the house as a freeholder and we are able to see the house’s gross value and rateable value to get an impression of the type of house that it was.
The next page is where the surveyor records a description of particulars about the land or house that he is surveying. In the case of number 67, it refers the reader to what had been written about the next door plot (number 2376) but with the addition that Beeby Thompson’s house has had a bathroom added, a dispensary room and a side entrance.
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The inclusion of a dispensing room will not be a surprise as if we search for Beeby Thompson in the 1911 census we will see that he gave his occupation in that year as a Consulting Chemist & Geologist.
Returning to the result page of the Lloyd George Domesday Survey, and then opening the map from the link provided on the transcript box, we see the exact location of his house identified on the large scale Ordnance Survey Map that the Valuation Office used at the time to plot each property.
From this map we can zoom in to find plot 2376. This is the next door property to Beeby Thompson’s and provides a more comprehensive description for the row of houses on this road. We can see from the entry that the buildings were laid out on three stories, with two bedrooms on both the first and second floors. The kitchen, pantry, breakfast room and a coal house were situated in the basement while the ground floor had a front room, a back room and a small lobby.
The Lloyd George Domesday Survey is a very useful addition to our arsenal when researching our ancestors or doing a house history from the period 1910-1915. This is especially so as it can be accessed both via TheGenealogist’s powerful Map Explorer tool with its georeferenced map options, as well as from the Master Search on the site.