Here in the Past

Here in the Past is our latest and most ambitious local history project about Brighton & Hove, it has been delivered largely by volunteers and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Use the links to see our searchable population data sets or downloadable data sets.


Here in the Past is builds on our experience of delivering our previous local history project, MyHouseMyStreet, which comprised a website and a series of street exhibitions.

Here in the Past exhibition boards being examined by a group of students
Exhibitions spread the word about Here in the Past and encourage more young volunteers to join in

The MyHouseMyStreet website included Census Return data from 1851 to 1911, for 24 streets. It also displays 50,000 images of Street Directory pages from 1780 to 1970.

From this evolved Here in the Past, a far more ambitious undertaking that locates, transcribes and presents population data for nearly all Brighton & Hove streets from sources including: Burial records,  Census returns, Electoral registers and Street directories.

These multiple sources cover different areas and periods in history. By combining them, we aim to provide some historical context for every home in the city up to around 1970.

Burial records

Drawing together the parish records for burials between 1813 and 1846, this resource allows users to discover where and when someone was buried and also, if recorded, the place and cause of their death

Detail from original hand written ledger recording deaths
Original hand written ledger recording deaths in 1827

Census returns

These records, gathered once each decade, relate to the whole of the Brighton & Hove area from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries and provide detailed information about the people who lived in each of our local homes.

Image of detail of the 1861 census of Brighton & Hove
Detail of the 1861 census of Brighton & Hove

Street directories

Unlike the Census return, Street directories provide only a few pieces of information about people at a particular address, usually just the head of house, business name, or similar. Despite this, because Street directories were produced more frequently than the Census, they help to fill the gaps in the records. 

We offer in excess of 103,000 pages of Street directory information from the late-18th to late-20th centuries. Thousands of hours of volunteered effort has gone into digitising, indexing, collating and displaying this content. As transcription, correction and organization continues, millions of pieces of historical information are becoming available, all searchable by person, place and time

The Directory content we have not yet transcribed into searchable data can be seen on our MHMS website

Image of detail of an original street directory for Brighton & Hove
Detail of an original street directory for Brighton & Hove

Electoral registers

Another of our very large digitised resources comprise the information from local Electoral registers from 1855 to 1931. Again, thousands of hours of volunteered effort has gone into making this information searchable by person, place and time. Our searchable data set offers access to over 260,000 lines of information, our downloadable data, access to a further 3,000,000 lines of data.

Detail of the original register of electors for the Hanover Ward in 1903
Detail of the original register of electors for the Hanover Ward in 1903

What this data promises

This huge resource has become a catalyst for numerous activities by academics, students and volunteers, based here at The Regency Town House and elsewhere around our city and beyond.

As well as our own project, we are proud to support the work of other groups pursuing similar initiatives based on this model.

Most of all, we hope Here in the Past will fire the curiosity and enthusiasm of visitors and residents and encourage them to explore the history of our city and to find out who lived in their home in the past.

Photo showing 24 volunteers arranged on the steps of the Town House
None of this would be possible without our amazing volunteers

If you want to help with Here in the Past research, making the web pages, or staging outreach events, do please get in touch, we have an enthusiastic and friendly group of volunteers who are always keen to meet others with an interest in the past. Our email address is:

Heritage Fund logo and link