Period House Style: The Victorian House 1
Victorian Housing grew in reaction to the increase of population which doubled between 1841 and 1901. The middle classes who wanted to own fashionable villas rejected the back to back terraced housing popular in the industrial areas. The poorer factory workers stayed in the cramped housing within the cities but the aspiring middle classes moved to the suburbs to larger properties with gardens.
Speculative builders bought small plots of land off farmers and built rows of identical housing. The interior layout tended to stay the same with a hall leading to two rooms on each floor. The exterior would have been built with local bricks and the fashionable decorative detail would have been ordered from building merchants and catalogues.
The builders would have sold the houses to landlords or become landlords themselves leasing to tenants. Very few people owned their homes.
Many Victorian housing were not built with adequate drainage and services to the properties. It was not until the mid to late Victorian period that houses were built with with adequate sanitation. The Public Health Act of 1848 enabled local authorities to enforce better sanitation for housing. Disease such as cholera was causing a dramatic increase in the death rate. Under the new regulations sewage was taken away, better drainage was put in and separate clean running water for drinking was supplied.
There were three styles of Victorian housing that were prominent:
Classical: Inspired from the earlier Georgian period. Heavily influenced by ancient Rome and Greece with symmetrical façade designs with columns, pediments and stucco walls.
Gothic: A revival from medieval times, most recognisable by the popular pointed arch used for windows and doors. Theses houses were asymmetrical with the design being based around the internal layout.
Men like A.W. Pugin and John Ruskin (The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1849) sincerely believed that the Middle Ages was a watershed in human achievement and that Gothic architecture represented the perfect marriage of spiritual and artistic values. Ruskin and his brethren declared that only those materials which had been available for use in the Middle Ages should be employed in Gothic Revival buildings. (Britain Express)
Olde English: Picturesque and quaint style. Built to a smaller scale than other Victorian houses, often found in villages rather than towns. Steep pitched tiled roofs or thatched. Pointed gables with lots of carved bargeboards and roof finials.
Arts & Craft Movement emerged in the 1880's in reaction to the mass production of goods in the Victorian period. Believing one craftsman should make an item from start of finish and only using local materials. Finished pieces would often be unvarnished and simple in design.
In 1850 the window tax was abolished so the mid to late Victorian house saw an increase in the use of large bay windows. In the same year brick tax was removed so builders found it more cost effective to build taller houses and use different styles of brickwork like the English bond that used more bricks.
1 1845, 2 - 6 1880's, 7 - 8 1890's