Victorian Architecture in England

The Victorian period refers to the time when Queen Victoria ruled Britain. With the coming of railways and new manufacturing processes, locally produced building materials became available all over Britain. Hence houses in the local area were now built using the same building materials. Houses made of local stone, timber and straw were now replaced and built of bricks from other countries.

The new mass-produced bricks were cheaper, required less preparation and maintenance. For the first time all over the country new mansions, cottages, chapels and factories were made from the same material irrespective of region.  Rich Victorians favoured Villas while the emerging middle classes of Victorian England lived in superior terraces with gardens back and front. They also had rooms for servants in the attic.

Victorian houses were built in a time when not many people had cars. It was only towards the end of the Victorian period that cars were even invented. Hence Victorian houses were built without garages as there was no need for a place to store a car.

Another feature of Victorian houses is they have chimneys as they often had a fireplace in most rooms. Fire was the only way to keep the inmates warm. On contrary houses today are built without chimneys as they are kept warm via central heating. Most modern houses have radiators in each room instead of a fireplace.

Victorian Gothic

Victorians beyond doubt embraced Gothic style in a way that had not been the case since the Middle Ages. Gothic became the style for church buildings. The rise in a Christian country with lots of church buildings took place. Architects like Thomas Rickman tried to define style, periods of medieval Gothic and Victorian Gothic buildings are serious attempts not just at imitation but at perfection.

Industry & Commerce

The Victorians built some factories, warehouses, offices and shops in a way nobody had done before. Factory architecture, however, was rather plain and utilitarian. The Victorian industrial architecture was varied as any other. Their factories adopted a version of the classical style, pediments, columns and pilasters often built in brick as the stone of more traditional classicism. The brickwork sometimes incorporated details that were classically based, drawn on other traditions to create a dazzling hybrid style at which the Victorians excelled. There were some factories that adopted the Gothic style with pointed arches and windows, sometimes using stone.

Characteristics of Victorian houses

  • Bay windows stick out.
  • Iron railways
  • Flemish brick bonding
  • Patterns in the brickwork made from coloured bricks
  • Stained glass in windows and doorways.
  • Roofs made of slate
  • No garage
  • Sash windows that open by sliding the window up.

Conclusion

Victorian builders spent much of their time in building houses, especially small ones for working class of people in towns and villages. Many of the remarkable surviving buildings still provide their owners with a roof over their heads and a few stand out even to this day.