This class of records is sometimes known as ‘Lloyd George’s Domesday’. In order to raise revenue, the Finance Act of 1909-1910 required a survey of all UK properties to be carried out. Site values of land on 9 April 1909 were recorded, with the intention being that, when properties changed hands, any increase in value, or capital gain, would be taxed at the rate of 20%. This related to the value of the site itself and not to any buildings or crops upon it. The act was repealed in 1920 and the First World War probably meant that fewer properties were changing hands but this is still a very useful source for the period.
There are four pages allocated to every property or hereditament and the information from the landowners’ returns is on the first page. This page may give details of when the tenancy commenced, how much rent was paid and who was responsible for repairs. Annotations may indicate any changes in tenant or owner during the lifetime of the legislation. The remainder of the entry includes a description of the property’s construction, condition and number of rooms. Sometimes there is a sketch map, to show the position of outbuildings for example.