London is a city world-renowned for its architecture. It’s hugely diverse and offers a little bit of everything. From old to new, traditional to contemporary, art deco to gothic. When it comes to residential properties, we, here at Home Tales, have seen a variety of properties that stem from different eras in history. The majority of our home renovation projects do tend to be in period properties, built in the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. That being said, we are also getting an increasing demand for extensions in new builds. No matter the year of the build, homeowners are always looking for ways to make their homes more space efficient.
We thought we would walk you through London’s architecture history and why we have the building styles we know and love today.
Residential architecture really hit a period of expansion in the 18th Century, as Britain emerged as a strong global trader. With London at the epicentre of the trading power, the population and size of the city increased dramatically. The demand for residential houses started to increase, and as a result we saw the development within central areas like Bloomsbury, Marylebone, Mayfair and Kensington. This period also saw the expansion of areas like Hampstead, Islington, Hackney and Dulwich, which were seen as more remote villages at the time. This period of architecture is known as the Georgian era. During this period, bridges were built across the Thames, strengthening the connection to the land South of the river. This gave rise to residential development South of the river for the first time.
Downing street is a great example of residential Georgian architecture. Houses often have sunken basements, high ceilings on the ground floors and an attic storey of a mansard design (sloped walls and roof). The roof is often hidden from view by a parapet wall. This was originally designed to prevent the spread of fire, although turned into an aesthetic design preference as the years went by. From the front, the property appears to have a flat roof, but from the rear you can see the butterfly pitched roof. The lower ground floor and attic were designed for the servants. This period saw the emergence of squares of houses, often surrounding a small park or large garden at the centre. Sash windows were also introduced in mass for the first time.
Regency architecture spanned from 1811 to 1837, when the Price Regent ruled as proxy for his father George III. First floor balconies and delicate, detailed cast iron scrollwork became very popular during this period. Brickwork that was previously favoured during the Georgian era were covered with stucco facades, painted in cream to imitate marble and stone.
This period of architecture spanned from 1837 to 1901. This is perhaps saw the most diverse styles of architecture. One of these was neo-gothic, also known as gothic revival. Westminster demonstrates this style of architecture. Symmetry of lines, pointed arches, spires and steep roofs are all characteristics from this era. The use of iron really came into its own during this period. Previously used for decoration, advancements in engineering meant that iron was being used to enhance the structure of a building for the first time. This led to taller buildings being built. Houses became more complicated and intricate of details during this period, with the emergence of porches and bay windows. Stained glass windows and ornamented ridge tiles are more characteristics that emerged from the Victorian era.
The death of Queen Victoria (1901) and the dawn of the 20th century led to a considerable shift in architecture style. The underlying themes of Edwardian architecture are the desire for sunshine and air, so the houses tend to be larger than the Victorian alternatives, with wider rooms and larger, more spacious hallways. There was a desire for more privacy at the time, so houses tend to have larger front gardens and be set back from the street.
Here at Home Tales, we appreciate all forms of architecture. We feel it’s important to understand the history of local architecture as it helps shape your proposed modification to the property. These period properties were designed and built over a hundred years ago, when the demands of daily life were very different from what they are today. Families are looking to make the most of the space they have (particularly in London). When undertaking a home extension, it is so about much more than just adding space to your property. An extension enables you to add effective tools to increase natural light into your property, including the likes of Velux windows and glass doors. On top of this, you can take the opportunity to reconfigure your internal walls, and make the space you have more efficient.
Get in touch with our team today to find out more about how we work, and to receive a free, no obligation quote. Call us on 0207 043 2378 or email us at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can also book directly online, via our online live calendar.