Monday, 17 January 2011

Elsynge Road

In and around this suburban sidestreet, there is an unusual collection of mid-Victorian houses, mostly in semi-detached pairs. They were built as show houses for the Great Exhibition of 1851 but the area was still green fields because the nearest station, Clapham Junction would not open for another twelve years. So how did people get there to see the show houses? Either by omnibus or in their own carriages. This suggests that the potential market for these house were prosperous merchants who could afford to live on the healthier edge of London.
The houses feature the latest styles: Gothic gables, Flemish gables and windows arranged in pairs in the Italian Rennaissance style as well as the established classical. They are mostly arranged as semi-detached villas with their front doors at opposite sides to give a greater sense of privacy. Most of them were built with half-basements and all of them include the latest feature: the bay window.
Illustrated (above) semi-detached pair with Gothic gables, bay windows and windows arranged in pairs in the Italian Rennaissance style.

Monday, 3 January 2011

What is a Period House?

Late Victorian Medium by Richard Russell-Lawrence
by Richard Russell-Lawrence

A typical period house is an urban terraced or semi-detached house built over seventy years ago. The original front of the house usually still has distinctive features  which are common to the period in which it was built such as a bay window. Bay windows began to be built after 1851 when both window and glass taxes were abolished. During the mid Victorian period (1851–1874) they were cant or straight sided.

The periods are not merely identified by the reigning monarch but by distinctive developments and features common to that generation. For example the reign of Queen Victoria spanned three generations and numerous developments which profoundly affected peoples homes such as the Public Health Acts of 1848 and 1875. During the late Georgian period (1774-1810) the population of the United Kingdom began to change from having an urban minority of twenty-five per cent. By 1914 the country had an urban majority of eighty per cent.