Sunday, July 13, 2014

Victorian Houses - Part 2 - Typical characteristics

Victorian houses are very distinctive and can be identified by a number of typical features and characteristics

In last week’s article 'Victorian Houses – Part 1 - Dwellings of character but not without their problems!' I discussed how Victorian houses seem to maintain a great deal of character and history compared to the vast majority of houses that we build today.  Despite this I also considered the difficulties that would have been encountered by those living in Victorian houses prior to the introduction of some of the more modern facilities that we take for granted today, such as insulated walls, central heating, internal WC and bathrooms etc.

This week I would like to focus on some of the typical characteristics that make Victorian Houses different from most other types of houses. In Part 3 next week I will consider some of the typical defects that may be found in Victorian dwellings.  If you are considering buying or renting a Victorian house you may find this information of interest.

Bay Windows incorporating sheet glass
Source: Own
Iron Railings - Many Victorian Iron railings were removed during the Second World War to make ammunition, however those that were not removed or perhaps have been restored may look like the photograph below.

Flemish Bond Brickwork - This bond is formed when bricks are laid alternately at their longest side (stretcher) followed by their shortest side (header) with the sequence repeated.  As you can see in the image below the next course is laid in the same way with the headers located at the centre of stretchers below.

Patterns in the brickwork made from coloured bricks - This is not a feature of every Victorian House however due to the rapidly expanding availability of bricks and developing transport networks, the Victorians started to experiment with bricks to provide decorative features to their houses

Stained glass in doorways and windows - This is something that became a common feature in Victorian houses and evolved into the Edwardian period which followed

Slate Roof Coverings

Narrow Roads and No Garages - Cars were not a consideration in Victorian times so there would have not been a requirement to accommodate traffic on roads or to provide garages.  This is why we will often find travelling along Victorian streets nowadays is sometimes problematic, due to parked cars on both sides of the road

Sliding Sash Windows - Sliding sash windows are those that open vertically, usually be means of sash cords and weights. Most windows nowadays are casement types (hinged), although sash windows are still used today particularly in restoration works. 

Source: Image courtesy of Graham Stead
Outhouse Toilet - This is something that was discussed in last week’s article and in particular how uncomfortable it would have been using the toilet in cold weather and in the middle of the night!

Tiled Entrance Halls 

Cast Iron Fireplaces - Unlike modern houses which may have a ‘feature’ fireplace in one or two rooms, Victorian houses incorporated cast iron fireplaces such as indicated below, in most of the rooms within the house including all of the bedrooms.

Next week in the final part of this ‘mini series’ on Victorian houses, I will consider some of the typical defects that may be found.  Be sure to take a look!

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