Victorian and Edwardian 1837-1911
(1) The British Empire was almost one hundred times larger than the United Kingdom.
(2) The rich were becoming richer, whereas the workers were still treated badly.
(3) More bricks were laid in the Victorian time than any other period before, and the great boom in railways, at its height in the 1850’s, increased the range of the brick revolution.
Titus Salt was the first industrialist to introduce social housing. In 1850 he built a complete village, which still remains today called Saltaire, just outside Bradford. The village consisted of a mill, houses for the workers, a hospital, a school and marked a great step forward in town planning.
The great exhibition of 1851 saw glass and steel combined in a way not thought feasibly before. Joseph Paxton designed the structure that was the brain child of Prince Albert. The exhibition was first erected in Hyde Park and covered 29 acres, and the exhibits included the latest in machinery and works of art from all over the World. Over 6 million people visited the exhibition before it was moved to Sydenham heights in 1852, later known as crystal palace, and there it stayed until 1936 when it burnt down.
Two new community towns were built by George Cadbury ( Bournville ) and Port Sunlight by William Lever. Both were built as a means to encourage loyalty from their workers by offering better housing and a self-contained community.
The Public Health Act of 1875 laid the foundations for much of legislation in housing, public health and town planning we use today. Unfortunately the Victorian builders being typically greedy used the minimum standards to build many ‘Coronation Street’ type rows of dreary terraces.
The town houses followed much in the Georgian mould but became more ornate, and this can be seen in much of Kensington and earls Court. Villas were very popular, and mansion flats first appeared in the inner city areas of most big cities.
The industrial revolution was not something Hampshire benefited from, having no minerals the growth of Victorian rows of terraced houses had to rely on the docks at Southampton and Portsmouth, and the new railway carriage works at Eastleigh to bring jobs to these towns.
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, 90% of all homes were tenanted. 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 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.
Between the late 19th century and the early 20th century architecture was to witness a movement rather than a particular style. This was called the Arts and Craft Movement and was encouraged by William Morris. Many of the movements characteristics live on today, such as exposed beams and bare brickwork, typifying the cottagey look of Morris, and later the more starker simplistic look of Mackintosh and Lutyens.
Edward VI became king in 1901 at the age of 59, and he was to preside over a country at the height of it’s power throughout the world, controlling almost a quarter of all land surfaces.
In 1898 Ebenezer Howard inspired by a trip to America published a book called Tomorrow, in which he outlined his ideas for a garden city. In 1903 Howard’s ideas were put into practise at Letchworth, where 3818 acres had been bought for just over £40 per acre.
Edwardian houses were built on a larger plot than the Victorians and were likely to be wider to accommodate a larger hall and longer for a bigger garden front and back.
The new middle classes were eager to show off their new found wealth so external decoration became flamboyant and elaborate. Carved woodwork adorned balconies, veranda, and porches, multi paned sashes and casements with simpler leaded glass sat within deep bay windows. Large panelled painted doors with Art Nouveau or Neo-Georgian glass with entrances being tiled on both walls and paths.
Victorian and Edwardian houses emit in the region of 8 tonnes of Co’2 per year.
Typically these house would have solid walls, Bay or sash windows with single glazing and open fireplaces.
Because of the poor levels of performance, see U value, offered by these original features, the space heating costs and associated emissions will be high.
Two bedroom Victorian terrace 60 sq m.
Original features possibly fireplaces, solid wooden panel doors, wide plank wooden floors, wood panelling. Usually near a railway station.
Usually roof will have passed its sell by date, either needing re-covering or complete roof, if not already done.
Walls up to 1890 had no foundations and no damp proof membrane, so front and back walls likely to be damp.
Windows would originally have been single glazed, and no off-street parking.