Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian – the difference?

Georgian Architecture (1714 – 1837)

Properties built during this period were designed to be spacious, comfortable and grand. The first and second floors were occupied by the homeowner and their family, while the staff lived on the upper stories. For this reason, the upper story rooms are typically smaller, with lower ceilings and smaller windows. Likewise, the kitchen was found out of site on the lower ground floor, so meals could be prepared away from the main house. 

During this period, houses were built for profit for the first time, so multiple properties were often constructed in one go. This gives us the terraced style of housing we know and love in London today. The properties in this period were mostly red brick, terraced, with tall windows. 

If you look closely at a Georgian property, you might notice a bricked-up window. This peculiar characteristic was caused by the window tax levied on homeowners between 1696 and 1851. The window tax was in the place of income tax and meant that the more windows a home had, the bigger it was and the richer the owner. To avoid paying higher taxes, many homeowners bricked up some of their windows to reduce the rate of tax they had to pay. 

Regency Architecture 

The Regency architecture era spanned across the final decade of the Georgian era. Homes were marked by their white stucco front. John Nash was the leading architect at the time (you might know him from his more notable work, which included the redesign of Buckingham Palace for King George IV). He was eventually fired as his designs were very grand and elaborate, and therefore too expensive to build. Areas such as Belgravia and the roads surrounding Regent’s Park display examples of London’s grand Regency architecture. 

Victorian Architecture (1837 – 1901)

The Houses of Parliament and St. Pancras Station offer wonderful examples of Victorian architecture. They are gothic in style, with smaller, more intricate details than the previous periods of architecture. 

This period coincided with the industrial revolution, which saw the demand for mass housing increase significantly. The majority of homes built before the Victorian period were owned by the gentry, or at least wealthy landowners. The Victorian era built homes that were less grand and more accessible. Homes were built on mass, which is why this period is so commonly defined by rows of terraced housing. This was a huge turning point for people living in London, as working class families were able to live in properly constructed homes for the first time. 

Internally, Victorian terraces boast high ceilings and large windows, but the rest of the layout was much more cramped compared to previous Georgian designs. Victorian homes were most often defined by a narrow hallway, one room wide, with a fireplace in every room. 

Edwardian architecture (1901-1910)

The Edwardian period was heavily influenced by The Arts and Crafts Movement. This movement encourage simple design and an appreciation for handmade products in retaliation to the mass production in the Victorian age. As they broke away from Victorian architecture, the Edwardians were faced with many of the challenges the Victorian architects were faced with: increased demand for mass housing. The large scale terraces continued, although the style was larger, wider set with the removal of staff quarters, as fewer people required them. 

Edwardian properties are often defined by their sash window with smaller panes within. The grander properties are often arranged over three of four stories, with a render painted white or cream. It’s common for Edwardian properties to have a front garden and to be set back from the pavement, as there was an increasing desire for more privacy at that time. 

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