Victorian Housing

Victorian housing had certain characteristics such as bay windows, iron railings, cellars, and patterned brickwork which show a typical architectural work during the nineteenth century. Houses always had chimneys as central heating had not been invented during the Victorian era, meaning that houses would often have fireplaces in every room to provide heat and also light. Therefore, if a house did not have a fireplace in a room, it likely was not frequently used, meaning that often families spent their majority of time in one room that had the best source of heat, as rooms were often neglected if they had a lack of heating. Houses were usually built based on the classicism of Regency styles, however, later on, were more heavily influenced by Italianate styles and Gothic Revival began to develop new characteristics that were common on housing.

Due to the Industrial Revolution, many families had to move towards the cities in order to find and continue work as the countryside development declined. Therefore, industrial cities soon experienced overcrowding and poverty and houses began to develop fast in order to cater for the new mass of the population. Back to back housing was often built in overly poor conditions due to the new mass migration to industrial cities, meaning that many poorer families lived in horrific and unsafe housing which later turned into slums. In 1850, the abolition of taxes and brickwork  catered for this growth in housing and allowed cheaper houses to be built quickly, meaning the poor and the rich all had access to accommodation like never before. However, homelessness was still rife in the nineteenth century for the very poor who were unable to afford even the most dangerous and unsanitary of homes.

Typical features of Victorian era housing included a whole range of characteristics. Hot and cold running water developed throughout this period and by the end of the century, almost all houses had access to both hot and cold water in their homes. Lighting powered by gas was available to most houses by the end of the era and a few richer people had access to lighting towards the beginning of the era too. Small gardens were often incorporated into the homes as well as slate roofs and sash windows to become staples of Victorian architecture. Houses usually had cellars too for the storage of coal, which was required for heating water and open fires. Finally, houses were often built as terraces or detached houses, meaning that more houses could be built on one street to encompass the growing population in the industrial cities.

From, The Victorian Blogger


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