UK House Name Signs – A Quick History
Naming ones home is an old British custom which began with the gentry naming their manors houses, halls and castles. For instance, the residence of Lord Evesham of 'Evesham Manor' would have several properties tied to the estate. You might reasonably find Evesham Hall, Evesham Lodge, Evesham Cottages, The Gate House, The Dairy, The Barn and The Forge etc within walking distance of the Manor House.
Tradesmen and merchants also started naming their properties - Mill House, Forge Cottage, Wool Hall etc. Once the convention of house naming became the norm many other property owners followed suit by naming their homes after distinguishing features within the boundaries of the property - Oak Cottage, Rose Cottage, The Pines, Orchard House, Meadow View etc.
The conventions of naming ones home began to spread and nowadays people name their homes from all kinds of inspirations. The previous usage of the building inspires house names like The Barn, The Old Schoolhouse or The Old Rectory whilst some home owners name their properties after well known beauty spots or places they have had happy holidays at like Ambleside, Windermere, Broadstairs, Sorrento, Santorini or Vermont.
Other property owners choose features of their home like Red Gables, Two Chimneys or Grey Tiles. Sometimes the view from the property is used like River View, Mountain View, Vista Montenasa etc.
Some home owners name their residence with terms like Serenity, Nirvana, Madhouse etc. Naming homes after animals frequently seen around the property is also very popular - Badgers Cottage, Cuckoo Cottage, Curlew Cottage, Dolphin Cottage, Fox Hollow, Kestrels, Magpies, Mole End, Nightingale Cottage, Robins Nest, Rookery Nook, Squirrels Leap, Swallow Barn, The Jays and Two Hoots are all favourites.
Properties throughout the British mainland used only house names until 1765 when an act of Parliament decreed that all new properties must also have a house number and street name for better identification of properties and boundaries.
About House Numbers in the UK
Since the introduction of street numbering by act of Parliament in 1765, every house built in a town and city has a designated number followed by the name of the road it is located in e.g. 20 Salisbury Avenue. The first house in the road is number one and the last house in the road is the total number of individual dwellings or buildings in the whole length of the street. The number identifies the location of a property in a road and so makes it easier for the postal service or emergency personnel to find houses.
Odd numbers are usually assigned to the left side of the street and even numbers to the right side, usually heading out of the town centre from the town hall or other civic building. Houses that have been added to a street after it has been allocated house numbers would have been given a number with a suffix instead. For example, next door to number 12 may be 12A and 12B as they where built on a parcel of land sold by the owner of number 12. Also a larger building that has been sub divided into apartments will be additionally numbered or given a suffixes.
Most UK homes have house numbers which are one or two digits long as there are not many residential streets with more than 100 houses in them. There are also homes with house numbers that are 3 or 4 digits long but this is less common. We as UK house sign makers have made the house number 2212 for an address in the UK and the highest known house number in the UK is 2679 on Stratford Road, Hockley Heath, SOLIHULL. Probably the most unusual house number sign we have made in number 1111 for a property in Birmingham - we contacted the customer just to check if this was correct or a typo!
Even though each house has been designated a number it does not mean that we can’t personalise our homes with a house name as well. We can't change the designated house number but we can add a house name or even change an existing house name if we want.