Briefing What do we really know about any building? Focus on the big picture: owners, occupants, and shifts of cultural scenery.
To help you there are published guides to recording and interpreting the fabric of buildings.
Looking at similar buildings that are well-understood and intelligently displayed can help educate the eyes.
A university library is good first port of call; it should hold useful reference books, including gazetteers and official inventories, and scholarly journals which will give leads to other sources.
Online bibliographies should give information on what has been published in scholarly sources on a building or place.
Listed building descriptions for England, Northern Ireland and Scotland can be read online.
Any historic building open to the public is likely to have at least a brief history online; see Historic Buildings to Visit.