The delights of the Field Books

Several of our Lloyd George volunteers are transcribing entries in the Field Books which are in the National Archives (TNA/IR 58). Every session on the documents, whether Field Books or sources held by Gloucestershire Archives, throws up interesting points. Often at the same time an entry sets us a puzzle in interpretation. Maureen Anderson has come across what she found a rather puzzling description of a property (hereditament 675) called The Knoll in Amerberley, recorded in the Field Book (TNA/IR 58/21298). The house was owned by Mrs E S Dauncey and occupied by Percy C Newman. Here is the description:

Rough cast over brick & red tiled modern residence built on Daily Mail £500 prize plan;
GF Drawing room with dining recess, hall, lavatory, kitchen & scullery combined, pantry;
1st F 4 bedrooms, bathroom & WC (fitted lavatory basins);
Coal house, garden, wood shed, potting shed, drive entrance, gas, s[pring] water

The property was inspected on the 16th April 1915, and was valued at £660; the ground area was 1 ¼ acres.

So it cost £500 to build, and had increased in value by 1909 (the date relevant to the valuation) – but what was the prize plan? The answer is probably the Daily Mail’s Ideal Home Exhibition. The London Museum website ( suggests that the Daily Mail started the exhibition in 1908 to boost newspaper sales and advertising revenue; it was held at Olympia. ‘There were various demonstrations and associated contests, including the Arts and Crafts competition and the architects’ competition to design the ‘Ideal Home’’.

The Knoll may have been entered for the competition rather than actually winning prize money. Does the house still exist and if so can we have a photograph of it please? Has it been altered?

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About Anthea

At present mainly engaged with Gloucestershire Archives in leading the transcription of the material compiled for the Lloyd George survey of land values for 1909. Many volunteers involved, more welcome! Previously writer of some local history books: Tewkesbury, the Cotswolds, A thousand years of the Engiish Parish, Cheltenham A new history.

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