British victorian house: Victorian homes – The National Archives

Victorian homes – The National Archives

  • Tasks
  • Background
  • Teachers’ notes

In Victorian society, rich and poor could find themselves living very close together, sometimes just streets apart. During the 19th century more people moved into the towns and cities to find work in factories. Cities filled to overflowing and London was particularly bad. At the start of the 19th century about 20% of Britain’s population lived there, but by 1851 half the population of the country had set up home in London.

London, like most cities, was not prepared for this great increase in people. People crowded into already crammed houses. Rooms were rented to whole families or perhaps several families. If there was no rooms to rent, people stayed in lodging houses.

But how different were the homes they lived in? Use this lesson based on original sources concerning Victorian Hackney to find out.


1. Look at Source 1.This is a map of Hackney from 1910.
  • What things does it show?
  • Are all the streets the same width?
  • What work places are shown?
  • Are there any parks or open fields, schools or churches?
  • Can you find Conduit Street off Rossington Street?
2. Look at Source 2. This is a photograph of Caroline Cottages, Conduit Place, taken around the 1890s.
  • Are these homes for the rich or the poor?
  • How many families lived in Conduit Place (at least)? (Handy hint: count the front doors)
  • How many rooms do you think each home had?
  • What would go on in each room?
  • Where would the children play?
  • There is only one young person in this photo. Does that mean that:
    • no children lived here except him?
    • the people that lived here were comfortably off because they could afford to send their children to school?
    • school was compulsory in the 1890s, so the children would be in school?
  • Can you see what the woman at the end of the street is carrying?

Read Source 3.This is the 1891 census return for Conduit Place.

  • What type of work did the head of the household do?
  • Did the children go out to work?
  • Did the wives go out to work?
  • Who other than the Harding family lived at 5 Conduit Place?
  • What else do you notice about the Harding family?
  • Why do you think they had a lodger living with them?
  • Conduit Place does not exist today. Make a list of reasons why it might have been demolished.

Download transcript of census return for Conduit Place 1891 (RG 12/284) (PDF, 66.1 Kb)

Download transcript of census return for Conduit Place 1891 (RG 12/284) (Excel, 22.50 Kb)

4. Look at Source 4. This is a photograph of Eagle House, just down the road from Conduit Street.
  • Did this house belong to a rich or poor family?
  • How many families do you think lived here?
  • How many floors does the house appear to have?
  • How many rooms do you think the house might have?
  • What tells you that this photo was posed?

Look at Source 5. This is the census return for Eagle House.

  • What does George Glover do for a living?
  • How many children does he have?
  • Is this family middle class or working class?

Download the transcript of Census return for Eagle House 1891 (RG 12/200) (PDF, 39.8 KB)

Download the transcript of Census return for Eagle House 1891 (RG 12/200) (Excel, 16.50 Kb)

6. Create a list of: similarities between the rich and poor families; differences between the rich and poor families.

7. If your house is over 100 years contact your local archive to find the census records and see who lived there.


Land-owners or factory owners often built houses for their workers. Unfortunately, this did not reduce overcrowding or improve building standards. The houses were cheap, most had between two and four rooms – one or two rooms downstairs, and one or two rooms upstairs, but Victorian families were big with perhaps four or five children. There was no water, and no toilet. A whole street (sometimes more) would have to share a couple of toilets and a pump. The water from the pump was frequently polluted. It was no surprise that few children made it to adulthood.

Some of the worst houses were ‘back to backs’ or courts. The only windows were at the front. There were no backyards and a sewer ran down the middle of the street. Housing conditions like this were perfect breeding grounds for disease.

On the other hand, the homes for the middle classes and the upper classes were much better. They were better built, larger and had most of the new gadgets installed, such as flushing toilets, gas lighting, and inside bathrooms. These houses were also decorated in the latest styles. There would be heavy curtains, flowery wallpaper, carpets and rugs, ornaments, well made furniture, paintings and plants. The source picture at the top this webpage illustrates some of the typical furnishings for the homes of the wealthier classes.

Most rich people had servants and they would live in the same house, frequently sleeping on the top floor or the attic. The rich had water pumps in their kitchens or sculleries and their waste was taken away down into underground sewers.

Gradually, improvements for the poor were made. In 1848, Parliament passed laws that allowed city councils to clean up the streets. One of the first cities to become a healthier place was Birmingham. Proper sewers and drains were built. Land owners had to build houses to a set standard. Streets were paved and lighting was put up.

Over time, slums were knocked down and new houses built. However, these changes did not take place overnight. When slums were knocked down in 1875 the poor people had little choice but to move to another slum, making that one worse. Few could afford new housing.

Teachers’ notes

In this lesson on Victorian homes students are gradually introduced to sources on Hackney, starting with a small map section, then photographic evidence, concluding with the census.

Teachers may wish to ease their pupils gently into working with the census returns. They can be asked to look first at column headings, then down the columns. The list of occupants is also worth discussion, as are terms such as ‘Nursing’ which have changed their meanings – to wet nursing in this case.

Although the tasks do not directly ask pupils to make comparisons, it is likely that they will do so anyway. The largest differences are between the photos.

The activity presented here can be extended with illustrations of the interiors of rich and poor housing.


Illustration : COPY 1/155 f.198

Source 1 : IR 121/17/17

Source 2 : P8629 (Image courtesy of London Borough of Hackney Archives)

Source 3 : RG 12/284

Source 4 : P76 (Image courtesy of London Borough of Hackney Archives)

Source 5 : RG 12/200

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The Victorian house is a ubiqitous sight across UK towns and cities. Discover design influences, identify key architectural details, and solve maintenance issues with our expert guide

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If you are lucky enough to own a Victorian house, then you are the guardian of a piece of design history. These properties are cherished, hugely diverse, beautiful and familiar in our everyday lives, forming an important part of our nation’s towns and cities.

In the Victorian era, Britain experienced a period of great growth and building, as people flocked to industrial centres in search of work. Suburban developments were widespread with the ‘villa’ now becoming a term for ever smaller homes. 

It is the plethora of Victorian properties from which the bulk of our built heritage now descends, and while many today appreciate the intricacies and enchantments of Victorian architecture this was not always so – with widespread destruction of properties under post-war reconstruction. Despite this, just under a third of all listed buildings date from the 19th century.

So, if you are renovating a Victorian house, read on to find out everything you need to know for a sympathetic restoration.

  • If you don’t know which era your house is from, use our guide to working out a property’s age.

The Victorian era produced a huge range of different designs. This property was originally a humble school house, and has now been converted into a cottage

(Image credit: Bruce Hemming)

The sheer quantity of Victorian houses can make understanding their architecture and design overwhelming, as both new and old styles, with new techniques, were appearing simultaneously.

More from Period Living

(Image credit: Period Living)

Get the best period home inspiration, ideas and advice straight to your door every month with a subscription to Period Living magazine

This was a period of factionalism in British architectural circles. Followers of the Italianate style looked back at Renaissance palazzi or Tuscan farmhouses for inspiration, the romantic Gothic-inspired architects developed Tudor-Gothic through to castle styles, with others advancing Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Queen Anne styles, with almost everything in between. 

By the middle of the 19th century the Gothic styles were holding sway. This became a style seen in small terraced homes, through to the grandest of country houses, with the added consideration of castle styles, and from this grew Elizabethan and Jacobean revival. 

While the first architects in a modern sense were from earlier periods, it was the Victorians that truly created the architectural profession, cemented with the formation of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1834. From this, household names like Charles Barry, Descimus Burton, Alfred Waterhouse, Norman Shaw, and Augustus Welby Pugin arose. 

This home exhibits many of the popular features of houses built at the turn of the century including a mock Tudor gable and roughcast render

(Image credit: David Parmiter)

Typical Victorian architectural details

Dspite the eclecticism of Victorian architecture it is very easy to spot and read the details with a little guidance.

For some the idea of Victorian housing brings to mind long, somewhat plain terraces, but even the simplest of homes that remain today have an abundance of characterful details – from terracotta detailing on façades and rooftops, to encaustic tiles in hallways, and small colourful leaded lights in doorways. 

Improvements in production and manufacturing brought otherwise previously expensive details and finishes to the masses. The standardisation of materials and improved transport networks led to more unified approaches to design, less limited by local vernacular.

In the latter part of the Victorian period, front doors were typically paired in deep recesses. Here, terracotta detailing is incorporated into the façade, beneath the upper window, and the roof features ridge tiles and finials

(Image credit: Darren Chunt)

Victorian house layouts

All the developments of the Victorian era resulted in greater housing for the majority, and by the end of the period the lower classes expect to be in homes of several rooms, instead of the singular rooms endured by their ancestors.

The large terrace systems seen in Georgian homes changed very little in form. The main change to occur was to discard the basement level in simpler homes, with middling or larger homes reducing these to half-basements. 

The tendency of Victorian builders was to use asymmetrical arrangements, rather than the rigid order and balance seen as a prerequisite of building in earlier periods. This is especially seen in country houses, as they lessened their desire to impose themselves upon the landscape.

Original cast-iron fireplace with decorative tiles

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

Bricks and tiles

By the end of the 19th century brick manufacturing techniques led to fine-quality machine-made bricks. They were still expensive so were usually reserved for façades, with the cheaper common bricks used on the sides.

A range of bonds were used in the period, from Rat Trap to the revival of English bond, with its alternate courses of headers and stretchers. Bands of decorative brickwork were also widespread, bringing life to the frontages of Victorian homes.

Terracotta was also hugely popular, with plaques and tiles incorporated into façades or used as finials and ridge tiles.

This pretty Victorian terraced house features decorative brick and terracotta detailing

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

Exterior ironwork

Few parts of the country were left untouched by Victorian industrial innovations, with ironwork becoming a key element of the built environment – from railings to porches, bridges and railroads. Improvements in casting meant even the simplest of homes would now have decorative railings or gates.

Cast-iron railings and gates often form an integral part of a Victorian street and should be treated with the same care and consideration as the main home, with regular checks and maintenance to avoid issues like corrosion. You can learn how to maintain iron railings in our guide.

While black is the prevalent colour today for ironwork, the Victorians originally used bolder colouring, like red oxides, greys, bronze greens, blues, or even polychromatic – black schemes only occurred in the 20th century.

Historic Environment Scotland produces a useful Inform guide on historic ironwork.

Cast-iron gates and railings should always be maintained. This Victorian bandstand has been restored to its original colours

(Image credit: Lee Bilson)

Victorian tiled floors

From the middle of the 19th century, geometric and encaustic tiled floors started to appear in municipal buildings, churches and villas. But as the fashion rose and mass production improved by the 1890s, they had become an essential feature even in the most ordinary of Victorian terraced houses.

The hall was one of the most important areas, as this was the first way (after the façade) of impressing visitors – so tiled hallway floors were extremely common in a range of styles. Sometimes you’ll spot them outside on pathways leading to the front door.

Most tiled floors were laid with such precision that many think the tiles are just butted together, but were typically laid with a fine grout.  

The most common issues are loose, cracked, or broken tiles due to typical wear and tear. While it is easy to carry out some minor repairs to tiled floors yourself, where larger areas have issues you should contact a specialist.

Historic Environment Scotland has a wonderful guide covering tiled floors, offering insights into common issues found, and various approaches to repair and restoration.

Stained glass and decorative encaustic tiled floors became features in the homes of the masses 

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

Windows and doors in Victorian houses

In the terraces of the early Victorian period, doors continued to be placed on the same side of each house, but this had changed by the late Victorian period, where front doors were typically paired in deep recesses. 

The Victorians also favoured four-panelled doors with plain over-lights rather than the highly decorative lead fanlights of the Georgians – this is not to say fanlights were not still used.  

Windows of the period tended to complement the style of the house, from Italianate to Gothic styling, or decorative upper panes in Queen Anne revival homes. The bay window became an icon of the period.

Technological advances saw changes in the construction of sash windows, with moves away from numerous panes to the ever more common two-paned sash. The finest of houses went one step further to demonstrate their wealth by further reducing these to just one large pane. 

To accommodate this, structural innovations were needed, as without the glazing bars the frame was too weak. Short protrusions (known as horns) were introduced to make the joints stronger and can be a tell-tale sign of a Victorian sash. 

If you spot horns on a Georgian-style sash it’s an unfortunate later replacement where the joiner probably didn’t understand the reason for the protrusion on later sashes. Some Georgian windows were adapted to meet the 19th-century trends of few panes by removing the glazing bars – evidence can still remain where they merely cut out the glazing bars.

Original windows are all too often replaced with supposedly better modern systems. Do not be fooled, however – a well-maintained timber period window can outlive many a modern casement. If you need to replace your windows, or you wish to reinstate more appropriate windows where the original has already been removed, ensure you match the original designs to maintain the delightful aesthetics intended. Look around the area and you may spot originals that you can copy.

A Victorian terraced home with the typical bay window and painted in original colours. Sash horns can be spotted on the bottom corners of the top sash of each window

(Image credit: Lee Bilson)

Interiors and decoration

Victorian interiors were generally cluttered, bold and colourful in comparison to the homes of previous periods. In the middle of the era, parlours would be host to busy patterns, scattered furnishings, and ornaments aplenty. 

As with other features of the period, mass production in the first half of the century allowed the middle classes to decorate their homes with wallpaper in a vast range of styles, morphing from busy patterns at first, through to simple designs in the middle period, and later lighter wallpapers with highlight floral decoration.

Little Greene produces Victorian-inspired wallpapers, such as this China Rose design, £84 per roll

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Victorian glasshouses

Beyond the advances that lead to few paned windows, the improvements in glass and iron production meant even middling homes could now afford small glasshouses or conservatories, typically accessed off a principal living space. 

But the best examples were found in the parks and gardens widely introduced in the era – the most famous being the Crystal Palace, which sadly burnt down in the 1930s, leaving the Temperate House in Kew gardens as the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, a behemoth of Victorian industrial ingenuity.

Many middle-class Victorians could afford their own glasshouses or conservatories

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

  • The finest examples of Victorian Italianate country houses are Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Witley Court in Worcestershire – both in the care of English Heritage.
  • Blists Hill Victorian town in Shropshire gives a magical impression of life and industry in the Victorian era with family activities. You’ll also learn more about the Industrial Revolution and developments in ironwork that led to the construction of great Victorian structures like the Temperate House in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew; recently restored this is a must see.
  • London, Liverpool, and Manchester all have excellent examples of Victorian architecture especially municipal and railway buildings like Manchester Town Hall, and the stations of St Pancras and Kings Cross. Interestingly, St Pancras and Kings Cross were built by competing railway companies who chose different styles specifically in challenge to each other. 

Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was built as a retreat for Victoria and Albert

(Image credit: English Heritage)

More on Victorian houses

  • 16 of our favourite Victorian homes
  • How to renovate a Victorian home
  • How to extend a Victorian house

Victorian house

Victorian house. Outside and inside.

Victorian architecture, design, interiors, furniture.

In order to understand how the Victorian style in the interior was born, let’s turn to the Victorian style in architecture.

The origins of the Victorian style.

Victorian style – an era in English architecture 1840 – 1910, named after Queen Victoria.

At the end of 19century, the most common architectural style was historicism, based on a mixture of elements of previously dominant architectural styles. It is also known as eclecticism.

The long reign of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901) coincided with historicism, the fusion of styles, the “battle of styles”, the industrial revolution and the aesthetic trend in England.

In the history of art, “Victorian style” is a trend in English and American design of the 19th century, which is characterized by excessive decorativeness. Many critics and specialists in the field of architecture of the twentieth century deny the importance of the Victorian style, calling it tasteless.

But the Victorian style is distinguished by energy, liveliness and freedom, which were sometimes lacking in the styles of previous and subsequent eras.

In some styles, the decoration is discreet or absent. The Victorian style, as it were, falls into two directions: a style with lavish decoration (government or administrative buildings, church architecture) and a strict style (industry, transport).

An illustration from the 1862 edition of The Illustrated London News shows Minton’s majolica fountain, a typical example of Victorian aesthetics. This dazzling style is based on neoclassical motifs, but everything is subject to the era’s characteristic requirement of functionality and, at the same time, extravagance.


Neo-Gothic continued until the 1880s. as one of the styles that was popular with the new bourgeoisie, who were eager to have the same mansions as the nobility. The palaces of the Tudor era, Queen Elizabeth, Kings James I and Charles II served as models, sometimes even castles lying in ruins were acquired, as a result, the old was mixed with a remake.


The architects who built houses for the English nouveau riche were well acquainted with the historical styles they recreated. Victorian mansions were large structures with state rooms, chapels, dozens of bedrooms, and outbuildings that housed servants.

Half-timbered houses with gabled roofs, battlemented towers and clock towers, visible for miles around, were favorite features. In some custom-built mansions, reminiscent of medieval castles, there is a mixture of different styles. For example, the Gothic style prevails, but the bay windows and turrets do not look like medieval ones.

Similar to a medieval Cardiff castle in Wales, it was “improved” in the late 19th century by the architect William Borges. Both the creator of the castle and his mistress, the Marquise of Butte, shared a passion for the decorative art of the Pre-Raphaelites (a trend that arose in the early 1850s in English poetry and painting), which was considered “fabulous”.

The interiors of these houses are decorated with pseudo-Gothic carvings and colorful tiles, filled with furniture in different styles, the walls are covered with ornaments, vases and ceramics from China and Japan are placed along them.


Georgian country house

Town houses that you taken for themselves by rich people, were usually built in the style of Georgian classicism. And the interiors were an example of an artistic mess. It is hard to imagine how the tenants managed to move around the rooms or find a place to sit down

Victorian interior. Despite the unpretentious and cozy atmosphere, the overall impression that this room gives is very eclectic.

The interiors of the more modest houses were similarly cluttered and all surfaces decorated with patterns, but there was still some restraint, due either to taste or to constraint in means, in any case the result was a cozy atmosphere.

Chelsea Room, Carlisle House, London, 1857

This painting shows a room in the house where Thomas Carlisle lived, in the Victorian style at its best. The simple interior is typical of a London home.

Reception of the house that belonged to the writer Thomas Carlisle in London’s Chelsea. It can be used to judge what the dwellings of the middle class were like in the middle of the 19th century.

During the Victorian era, suburbs sprouted around large cities. There, ordinary houses were built for people with modest incomes, and “villas” were built for the more affluent. Outside, they were in the Regency or Gothic Revival style, sometimes with elements of the Victorian style. Residents furnished the interiors in accordance with the fashion of the Victorian era, guided by their own tastes and sense of proportion.

Most public spaces, clubs, restaurants, theaters, hotels and railway stations were decorated with carpets, draperies and cushions, which gave the interiors a special comfort typical of the era of “gas lighting”, it was in such interiors that the hero of Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous Sherlock Holmes, unraveling mysterious crimes. .

Richard Norman Shaw – English architect (1831-1912) during his career created many projects in the Victorian style. His early work is associated with neo-gothic. For country houses, the architect used half-timbered structures and masonry (the so-called old English style). Country houses and London mansions built in this style had complex plans. Red brick and wooden elements painted with white paint are the main elements of the facade, large windows with small deglazing. Bay windows are becoming very popular. There is a hint of neo-gothic and Dutch renaissance in the projects, but in general Shaw’s style is unique and unrepeatable. The interiors of his houses are distinguished by coziness and comfort.

Richard Norman Show, Living room, Svan-House, Naberezhnye Chelsea, London, 1876

In the photo of 1884. The Victorian interior with charming details was captured: chairs in the Queen of Anna, ornaments characteristic of the direction ” Arts and Crafts”, with a spinning wheel from the George era. The influence of William Morris can be traced in the wallpaper and the piano by Morris & Co.

Shaw’s clients and himself in his home filled the Queen Anne-style rooms with paintings, furniture and knick-knacks that were so beloved in the Victorian era.

Shaw’s country houses usually had a chaotic layout, the rooms were located for reasons of convenience and appearance, some were large.

Drawing room Cragside House, Northumburland.

The marble fireplace is an outstanding example of the Neo-Renaissance style. Included in the interior by the architect Richard Shaw in 1883-1884. The fireplace is carved with cupids, garlands and arabesques.



The design of mid-19th century English furniture was highly controversial. The styles of three key historical eras were recreated – antique, gothic and rococo. But the real forms of the created furniture differed from the originals by simple and standard solutions. Much attention was paid to the “decoration” of the surface.

Victorian Neo-Gothic was a “masculine” style, following the lines of Tudor furniture. Feminine rococo was very common in trendy living rooms.

The frequent use of gilding was explained by the fact that this was how furniture makers tried to hide the wretchedness of the forms.

Antique style was simple and solid, refreshingly free from unnecessary decorative elements.

The stagnation in the furniture industry is well illustrated by the fact that the London Furniture Rulebook, which collected the basic forms and decorative elements, was reprinted unchanged from 1836 to 1866. This situation was worsened by the emerging new middle class, whose representatives preferred to rely on the old and proven.

While the affluent 18th century shopper ordered furniture that suited his own tastes, the Victorian gentleman went shopping to the famous craftsman’s salon, where the assortment consisted of furniture of the same rounded shapes, like the famous Victorian chair with a round back, the basis of the Victorian house of the time.

The gradual mechanization of labor increasingly separated the roles of producer and designer, as happened in large cities.

The traditional role of a furniture maker continued in the provinces, and furniture from different regions often had its own characteristics. For example, in Lancashire, chairs with cross-slatted backs were made from pickled ash, and in London, from mahogany.

Groups of artisans across Britain created Windsor chairs with local features.


The second half of the 19th century saw a revival of historical styles. In England, the Victorian interior included reproductions of items from the Gothic, Renaissance, and Rococo periods; their production kept pace with industrialization. Special emphasis was placed on comfort, which was expressed by rounded outlines and soft upholstery.

During this period, the difference between mass furniture and what is called “furniture art”, i. e. items produced by specialized firms on the projects of artists and designers, increased every year more and more.

Cabinetmakers continued to make furniture with bent legs and rounded backs, as they had done many years ago. New elements have also appeared – corner and mantel shelves for various knick-knacks. They tried to highlight the furniture in one particular style.

British furniture makers reacted in their own way to overseas influence. Japan’s exit from centuries of isolation aroused great interest in the culture and traditions of the art of this country.

Many furniture makers have taken advantage of this to create “Anglo-Japanese” pieces, adding a Japanese touch to traditional furniture.

The use of bamboo has become very popular: this material is very durable, in addition, it is cheaper than exotic woods.

A favorite of historical styles, the gothic did not go out of fashion throughout the Victorian era.

Many of the British of the Victorian era did not really like modern furniture and furnished their living rooms in the neoclassical spirit of the last century. Masters of past eras left books where they carefully sketched models and patterns, decorative elements, so it was not difficult to repeat their creations. In 1867, Wright and Mansfield recreated Crosset’s chest of drawers in response to a renewed interest in the neoclassical style. The chest of drawers is made of satin wood with inlay, gilding and medallions. It is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sheraton semi-circular chest of drawers in satin wood. The chest of drawers is painted with garlands of flowers and female figures in a neoclassical style. The chest of drawers has a built-in drawer above the central door and stands on square legs.

Recreations of items made by Chippendale, Sheraton, Adam became increasingly popular towards the end of the 19th century. Many of the items were made so carefully that even now they are difficult to distinguish from the originals.

Chippendale armchair in mahogany. The frame of the chair is decorated with a through wicker decor and topped with a bunch of acanthus leaves. The front legs are decorated with carvings and end with a clawed paw with a ball.

Adam style gilded wall mirror. The rectangular mirror is framed on the sides by panels with a pattern of intertwining garlands, and a composition of an urn and flower garlands crowns the top.

Furniture forms have always been organically connected with the architecture of certain historical periods, the elements of which were reflected in the furniture. The forms of furniture in certain eras were so strongly influenced by architectural forms that furniture is even called “small architecture”.

Materials used in the article:

6000 years of history of architecture and design. John Pyle; per. from English. O.I. Sergeeva. – M.: Astrel, 2012. – 464 p.: ill.

Furniture. All styles from ancient to modern. Judith Miler; foreword David Linley. – M.; AST: Astrel, 2011. – 559 p., ill.

Antique collector’s guide. Periodization by detail. Paul Davidson. Publishing house ART-RODNIK, 2002. – 224 p., ill.

Furniture styles. D.Kes. – M.: V. Shevchuk Publishing House, 2008. – 272 p.

Encyclopedia of architectural styles. Wilfried Koch; Per. with him. – M.: CJSC “BMM”, 2008. – 528 p.: ill.

top trends in British architecture – NOBLE

A British man’s home is his pride and family treasure. For centuries, families lived in the houses of their ancestors: they completed, rebuilt, built on, but kept the foundation. Fashion changed, new architectural trends emerged, comfort standards were transformed, and historical buildings retained their unique style.

Introducing the most distinctive British architectural styles. Find out – within the walls of which era you live today.

1 Tudor. 1485-1560

2 Stuart. 1603-1714

3 Georgian. 1714-1790

4 Victorian. 1839-1900

5 Queen Anne style. 1880 -1900

6 Edwardian.1900-1918

7 Addison Council Houses. 1919

8 Semi-detached or semi-detached houses. 1918-1939

9 Art deco. 1920-1940

10 Airy Prefabricated Houses, 1940s

11 70s Terrace Houses

12 New Style 90s

13 Contemporary Minimalism. Our days

Tudor. 1485-1560

The self-isolation of the country in the era of Henry VIII and his descendants led to the formation of an original style, a combination of practicality and respectability. The most common type of building in the Tudor era is half-timbered: a frame structure with load-bearing elements visible from the outside. Horizontal and vertical beams were connected by side posts and braces. The gaps were filled with stone, brick, straw and branches mixed with clay.

Characterized by large windows, protruding bay windows for a panoramic view of the territory around the estate, small dormer windows. Instead of an attic – an acute-angled trapezoidal hip, broken semi-hip, gable roof under thatch or tiles.

Stuart. 1603-1714

The second name is Jacobin. A phantasmagorical mixture of the Flemish, Italian and French Renaissance in a British interpretation. Stone walls, massive decorative decorations of the facades and corners of the building.

Aristocratic homes feature many non-functional decorations and roof balustrades. The facades are decorated with rustication or rhombuses, columns, semicircular arches, pilasters.

Georgian. 1714-1790

Solid stone buildings seem weightless: huge windows with frequent sashes take up more space than the walls.

The court architect Inigo Jones reimagined the fashionable Palladian style – neoclassicism with baroque elements. Instead of snow-white marble, local architects used brick, granite and sandstone.

The Georgian era gave England stylish comfortable neo-Greek style mansions made of red brick with lighter stone trim, perfectly symmetrical, often with a characteristic triangular pediment on the facade.

Victorian. 1839-1900

Gothic Revival, the brainchild of John Ruskin and Augustus Pugin. The “fear of emptiness” characteristic of the Victorian era was transformed into retrospective eclecticism: a mixture of flaming Gothic with narrow pointed arches, decorated frames, cornices, figured chimneys. Victorian houses are characterized by asymmetric layouts, side entrances, complex internal transitions, ornate decor.

Queen Anne style. 1880 -1900

Anne Stuart reigned in the early 18th century, but the fashion for the Dutch style characteristic of her reign returned to England at the end of the 19th century. The buildings resembled old farm cottages and small asymmetric castles with high narrow roofs, beautiful gable gables without a horizontal cornice, turrets, front doors covered with hinged semi-arches.

Elegant and easily recognizable Ann’s mansions are decorated with bay windows, wide terraces around the perimeter of the building, glazed verandas with frequent bindings. The facades of the buildings are decorated with terracotta tiles, colorful panels, painted wood decor and balustrades.


The advent of electricity allowed architects not to worry about the safety of the light finishes of buildings. Edwardian mansions are neo-baroque in its light form, stone houses with rustication, false columns, narrow gables.

Characterized by a rich decor of high windows, beautifully decorated balconies, a combination of stone and wooden elements in the decoration. The facade often consists of symmetrical wide verandas with thin neoclassical columns and a snow-white wooden balustrade. From the provinces, houses with a la half-timbered decor came into fashion.

Addison Council Houses. 1919

Named after the 1919 Addison Act of Parliament. This is the first public housing project for workers’ families. The best architects of that time worked on the concept.

After lengthy negotiations, we got an urban variation of a rural cottage: bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a “salon”, or a space for older and sick family members. Typical houses range from 74m² without a salon to 102m² with a salon and spacious bedrooms. The buildings were distinguished by high ceilings of 2.4 meters, good lighting, and small garden plots.

Semi-detached or semi-detached houses. 1918-1939

The period between the two world wars was characterized by active expansion of the city. Typical construction of blocks for two families has become the optimal solution: it is built quickly, saves land, and costs less. Respectable houses with hipped roofs, beautiful bay windows, convenient layouts and private courtyards have forever changed the face of Britain.

To this day, semi-detached houses make up a third of the housing on the quiet streets of London and major cities in Britain. The remodeled semis have found bathrooms, but retain their external charm and clean lines.

Art deco. 1920-1940

British Art Deco architecture is distinguished by its defiantly simple lines, perfection of form, interpretation of ancient Egyptian and Roman antique style.

The interiors of the spacious Art Deco apartments are always richer than the façade; mansions and hotels resemble caskets with jewels available only to the elite. Particular attention was paid to the natural lighting of the rooms: glass domes, skylights, while building buildings took into account the ecliptic of the sun.

Airy prefabricated houses, 1940s

In difficult war and post-war times, the functionality of housing is more important than decor. Sir Edwin Airey developed a typical design: armature from the awnings of military truck frames became the basis of reinforced concrete columns. The walls are made up of concrete panels. The windows are small, a simple roof without an attic.

Prefabricated houses were prefabricated and quickly installed, forming entire streets of social housing. Today, reconstruction is underway with the replacement of concrete panels with blocks.

Terraced houses of the 70s

Rows of 2-3-storey houses with adjacent walls are distinguished by their functional layout, often with a garage and a small courtyard. Built in the second half of the 20th century, the buildings are equipped with modern heating systems and bathrooms.

Dense terraced housing, combining privacy and practicality, accounts for more than a quarter of all urban housing in Britain. The terraced house has not lost its popularity, it is easy to modernize it using modern technologies.

New style of the 90s

Complete rejection of cold constructivism. The dwelling is a symbiosis of traditional English half-timbered houses and rural cottages with ergonomic layouts and comfort of the 20th century. Particular attention was paid to the insulation of foundations, facades and roofs; double glazing has become the norm.