Loudly exhibiting a myriad of architectural styles and past fashions, London’s boulevards showcase the richness of British history and the development of its Empire. Between 1700 & 1900, our capital city expanded, bringing with it the Georgian, Victorian & Edwardian periods.
Within each era, the current taste and favour has cemented itself into Londons property, now presenting the ever changing aesthetic fashions of centuries old architecture. Alike to the rest of Europe, revolution and evolution has resulted in an array of facades towering over the skyline, leaving history in the brick and mortar of London.
Majestically named, the Georgian era spanned over 100 years from 1714-1837. Predominantly located in the most affluent of areas, the architectural style of this period found its inspiration in Classicism, exhibiting symmetry and balance. It can be identified by the simplicity of the facade, including rectangular sashed window, shallow roofs & stucco fronted brickwork. Internally, fully panelled walls can be seen to be horizontally divided into three parts influenced by Classicists columns. The Georgian style is famously showcased in 10 Downing Street and John Nash’s original Buckingham Palace construction. These are perfect examples of the spacious grandiosity that this style set out to achieve. Many of these residences have bricked up windows as ‘Window Tax’ was prevalent between 1696 - 1851. In place of income tax, landlords were charged per window as a measure of the size of ones property. This in turn, led to them being bricked up to reduce this cost before its abolition. Although space and light were foremost in the mind of architects, this was only of importance for the ground floors. Staff were allocated smaller & darker rooms on the top floor resulting in lower ceilings and smaller windows.
The Victorian era brought with it more decorative features. Queen Victoria I propelled the expansion of the middle class, requiring the construction of residences. Having been predominantly owned by the wealthy, the industrial revolution saw property values decrease, making them more accessible to the general populace. Terraced houses became popular, housing factory workers and those alike. Without gardens, proper sanitation or lateral spaces, streets were brimming with new residents. The slender facades resulted in narrow rooms and hallways, benefiting from large windows to maximise the space. Although remaining rather simple in aesthetic, the Arts & Crafts movement inspired more decorative elements to the style. This can be seen through the use of coloured brickwork, ornate gable trims or stained glass windows.
The Edwardian era developed external ornate decoration within architecture. Simple in design, the populace found appreciation for things handmade as a retaliation to the industrial revolution of the Georgian era. The Victorian period led London to be brimming with garden-less properties, inspiring the expansion of residences into ‘garden suburbs’. These were areas that could afford more lateral structures, exhibiting windows, front gardens and vast amounts of privacy.