London is a mish-mash of architectural styles. From compact rows of Victorian terrace houses to the imposing grandeur of Georgian townhouses, the capital has a wealth of period properties. What features define these historic buildings though? We take a look at London’s different property periods and the features that define them.
The Stuart Period (1603 – 1714)
The oldest properties you’re most likely to find in London were built during the Stuart period – an era characterized by civil war and religious disputes. In terms of the capital’s architecture, the period is defined by ornate styles adopted from Europe with a greater consideration for safety.
Increased trade with Holland, France, and Italy led to the integration of various features – colonnades, pilasters, and even domes could be seen in the more prosperous households. After the Great Fire of 1666 – in which over 13,000 houses were destroyed – the government of the day decreed that ‘all the outsides of Buildings in and about the said Citty be henceforth made of Brike or Stone’, moving away from the previous timber constructions.
- Italian Renaissance, Baroque, and Contempory patterns and iconography.
- Ornate fireplaces.
- Internal wood paneling and extensive brickwork (red brick)
- Small rooms at the top of buildings (previously used for as servants quarters)
The Georgian Period (1714 – 1830)
Some of London’s most desirable areas are characterised by neat streets of Georgian townhouses. These buildings generally have larger, more open rooms that are filled with natural light from broad windows.
The Palladian Classical style promoted by Italian architect Andreas Palladio also became fashionable in this era, leading to a symmetrical external appearance. The geometry of Georgian buildings is often emphasised further with the use of different materials – the ground floors of townhouses from the period are often covered in rendering, whilst higher levels are simply made of brickwork.
- Fan lights in the entrance corridor
- Cellars visible from street-level often used as kitchens.
- Large sash windows on ground floors, smaller sash windows on upper floors.
- Internal window shutters.
The Victorian Period (1830 – 1901)
The Industrial Revolution exploded into existence during the 19th century, bringing change to all corners of society. The buildings people lived in started to reflect the huge shifts brought by industrialised production.
Terraced housing became more popular in London and other centres of manufacture, providing accommodation to the new factory workforce. The profits of their toil were enjoyed by a burgeoning middle class, which also needed new homes built. Their houses were less grand and ornate than their Georgian predecessors but were made to last, with durable materials and simple design.
- Terracotta floor tiles
- Stained glass – especially in doors and at the top of window frames
- Fireplaces in every room
- Front porches – either stone, brick, or timber and often with a pattern.
The Edwardian Period (1901 – 1914)
The turn of the century saw a boom in house construction in the suburbs of London and commuter towns, responding to the ever-growing middles classes. Homes built in this period were generally larger and lighter, distanced from roads by front gardens.
The new professionals living in these properties had no need for servants, freeing up valuable space – rooms at the top of houses were now as large as those on the ground floor. Although Edwardian houses were of simple design, they often contained flourishes of more ornate style – an effect of the Arts and Crafts Movement that stood in defiance of Victorian mass production.
- Mock Tudor facade
- Parquet wood floors
- Wide hallways
- Steep-pitched roofs
Walking the streets of London, you’d be amazed by the architectural diversity of the city – reflecting the history of the nation’s capital. Regardless of which period property you’re searching for, each era has something special to offer in terms of features.
Considering period features in modern-day property investment
If you own a period property, consider how its features impact on the overall value. Period features, if maintained properly, can bring a substantial uplift in the value of a property – think twice before tearing out that Victorian fireplace. Alternatively, if you own a more modern property, the addition of period features could have the same effect – think about using reclaimed materials, such as tiles or wood flooring, to bring character to the property and increase its value.
If you’re considering buying a period property in South West London, get in contact with James Anderson’s expert advisors. Using their intimate knowledge of the local area and market, they’ll be able to find a home that suits your needs.