The City of London land tax valuation rolls from 1910 have been published for the first time by ancestry.co.uk. Putting property price small talk at dinner parties in historical perspective, they reveal that the average London property was valued at £14,000 back then, compared with the unseemly £430,500 of today.
Users of the genealogy website can now search "4,000 different records, covering 70,000 names across the City of London and Paddington" and discover how much their ancestors' homes were worth, as well as where they were and what they were like.
The Press Association does some rooting around for London landmark valuations, noting "the Bank of England, [was] worth just £110,000 in 1910, and the Old Bailey... just £6,600. In contrast, Mansion House was valued at £992,000 while St Paul's Cathedral also features but without a valuation as it is listed as "exempt" from tax."
What's spiffing marvellous is that registration enables you to view a wonderful high res image of the relevant page of the rolls for your chosen building. You'll be reading the actual entry in the roll, in spidery ink with smudges, annotations and errors included. You may also find yourself wasting inordinate amounts of time peering at the ledger and trying permutations of search terms. As a quick glance at the Ancestry Facebook page indicates, getting addicted to family tree hunting and lost in raking through historical records is superbly easy.
What will you find? The collection is published by ancestry.co.uk. You can sign up for a 14 day free trial but watch out, because after that, annual membership kicks in at £107.40.
Image of 1910 City of London from The Library of Congress Flickrstream.