How houses came to have numbers
In the past most dwellings were identified only by a name. In small towns and villages this would not have presented a great problem for the local residents in locating dwellings as they probably knew the majority of the other locals anyway.
As populations increased in size, however, it became obvious that a controlled system of street naming and numbering was needed.
Street naming and numbering became the responsibility of local authorities and they were given the relevant powers by the following legislation:
Sections 64 and 65 of the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847.
Sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Public Health Act of 1925.
This legislation requires the Local Authority to prepare street naming and numbering schemes and to maintain a good standard of street nameplates.
An official notice was sent to each house affected to inform them of the number allocated. It was required that the number be marked on the house within one week.
The documents at the bottom of this page are sections of an old register of house names in Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley showing the number that was allocated to each property. Immediately below is the Index for the register.
A Mystery Solved
This old register has already been of use to The Archive. We had been unable to identify even an approximate location for the bungalows in the photos below but fortunately the name of each appeared on the register (note that the present High Road used to be London Road) and we were able to find a number for each and determine the probable location.
Does your house still have the same name?
After house numbers were allocated many occupiers decided to keep the original name and use it in addition to the number. Does your property still have the name shown on the register? If so, we would be interested to know and we would like to add the information to this website. A photo of the nameplate would be very welcome. Please add a comment on this page or contact us.
The Benfleet Community Archive would like to thank Bill Snow at Castle Point Borough Council for making the register of house names and numbers available for us to copy and add to this site.