Today, rent payments tell us a great deal about the competition for land, living space and property.
As Europe moved from a 'preindustrial' and predominantly rural stage towards an urban-industrial society, improvements in agricultural productivity and more intensive patterns of land use produced upward pressures on rent. However the slow emergence of market relations and the persistence of ancient tenures underlay wide regional and local variations. In fact surprisingly little is known about rent movements over long periods of time, and even less about the growing divergence between rural and urban rents in the centuries before 1914.
City and Region assembles new data for just one part of England, the metropolitan region, for Kent, Essex, and the City of London. We intend to add further material, and hope that other researchers will join with us in providing a more complete picture of this and other regions in Britain.
Our aim is to link historic rental data with the texts and images which form its underlying documentation: details of leases and teneurial arrangements, and maps, building plans, surveys and architectural drawings. So far, we have assembled serial data for the Rochester Bridge and Cobham College estates from 1577-1914. We intend to add other estates in the region, including those of London Bridge and Eton College, and to push our starting-date back to 1400.
City and Region hosts serial data from 1577 for tenements, warehouses, and shops on a site to the north of Leadenhall Street. Property plans dating from the seventeenth century are also available to researchers interested in this important urban location Click here for more details
Detail from panoramic view by Thomas Badeslade, engraved for John Harris, History of Kent, 1719. Chatham dockyard is visible in the distance, linked with Rochester by a continuous line of houses and other buildings.
From Hasted's History of Kent, IV, 1798. The area reproduced here shows the city's “rural-urban fringe”, including Upper & Lower Delce, Nashenden and the Bridge Woods, which became residential suburbs in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The Court Hall or Guildhall, Rochester, built in 1687. The site and building were one of many owned by the Rochester Bridge Trust in Rochester itself, and were leased to the Mayor and citizens from 1685.