British housing has transformed throughout the ages. There are properties from hundreds of years ago that still stand today. The UK is filled with historic buildings, stretching all the way back to the 1400s. Some stand proudly in grand country manor estates, while modern city buildings surround others. The juxtaposition between the old and the new is one of the main charms of British architecture.
Let’s take a closer look into how British housing has changed through the centuries.
Tudor: 1480 to 1603
Tudor architecture is characterised by its black and white woodwork. A large number of Tudor buildings have survived over the ages, unlike other historic architecture. Tudor properties were built when people started to feel safer in their homes. In the Middle Ages, houses were built inwards onto a central courtyard for safety. Glass was also invented in Tudor times – but was only made in tiny panes because of its high price.
Stuart – 1602 to 1714
The Civil War in the 1640s and the Great Fire of London in 1666 impacted British architecture. After over 13,000 homes were destroyed in the fire, Parliament decreed that homes had to be made from brick. Furthermore, most families had one or two servants during this time, and they would live in small rooms at the top of the house.
Georgian – 1714 to 1830
There are numerous Georgian properties in the countryside these days. They have stunning white exteriors, huge rooms and tall ceilings. People wanted spacious, bright homes that were perfect for entertaining guests. The family lived on the bottom two floors of the house, and the servants lived above. The rooms on the third and fourth floors tend to be smaller because they were servant quarters. Kitchens tend to be on the lower ground floor.
Bricked up windows are common in Georgian properties. The window tax was introduced between 1696 and 1851. Homeowners had to pay more if they had more windows. So, many people bricked up their windows to reduce their tax payments.
Victorian – 1830 to 1901
After the industrial revolution, there was a demand for more affordable and accessible housing. Rows of terraced houses were built on narrow streets to cater for this new demand. Factory workers lived in these houses, and there was often no garden or proper sanitation. Back-to-backs were also introduced but quickly became illegal in the late 19th Century. Victorian homes feature high ceilings and large windows with a cramped layout. Victorian properties are known for their bright bay window, which can be transformed into a reading area.
Edwardian – 1901 and 1914
Edwardian homes are wider and more spacious than Victorian homes. They have large hallways, big windows and a simple design. The Edwardian properties were a response to the cramped nature of many Victorian properties. People wanted more privacy, and in some cases, a front garden.
In the 21st Century, architecture has changed once again, with high rise buildings and buildings featuring metal and glass.