Terraced houses have captured my interest, and I've delved into extensive research to present my fellow readers of this property market blog with captivating insights!
When it comes to architecture, the concept of terraced or townhouse living has thrived in the UK since the late 1600s. These are rows of houses with symmetrical designs, sharing side walls that create a cohesive and visually pleasing layout.
Credit for the first terraced houses goes to Monsieur Barbon, a visionary Frenchman who constructed them around St. Paul's Cathedral during the extensive rebuilding phase after the devastating Great Fire of London in 1666. But did you know that the concept of terraced houses emerged even earlier in the vibrant Le Marais district of Paris around 1610-15?
The French developed planned squares with properties boasting identical facades, laying the foundation for terraced housing as we know it today. However, it was during the 1730s that terraced houses truly flourished in London and the magnificent Royal Crescent in Bath.
Terraced houses played a crucial role during the Victorian Era, a time defined by the Industrial Revolution and the resulting influx of people into towns and cities in search of employment. These houses provided decent and habitable accommodation, offering an escape from the slums that plagued many urban areas.
A typical Victorian terraced house followed a standard design structure. The front room served as a formal space for special occasions, while the back reception room became the heart of daily family activities. Attached to the back reception room was a scullery, a small kitchen used for washing pots and undertaking other household chores.
Leading off the scullery was a door that revealed a rear yard, where you would traditionally find the privy or outside toilet. Upstairs, two spacious bedrooms awaited, along with a smaller third bedroom or nursery, usually accessible directly through the second bedroom.
In an effort to improve living conditions, the Public Health Act of 1875 mandated specific requirements for each house. These included a minimum of 108 square feet of liveable space per main room, access to running water, an external toilet or privy, and rear access for waste collection. These standards sought to address important sanitation and hygiene concerns prevalent at the time, particularly as public sewers had yet to be established in many areas where these terraced houses were built.
Over time, terraced houses evolved to accommodate changing needs and modern conveniences. During the 1960s and 70s, indoor toilets and bathrooms were installed, often modifying the smaller third bedroom or extending the ground floor scullery. Gas central heating became prevalent in the 1980s, providing more comfort and efficient warmth.
In recent years, there has been a significant focus on energy efficiency, resulting in the widespread adoption of uPVC double glazing as a replacement for older windows.
Interestingly, the trend of building two-storey terraced houses reemerged in the 1960s, although marketed under the term 'townhouses'. As we transitioned into the new millennium, the rising cost of land prompted developers to construct more new terraced homes.
The world of terraced houses is filled with rich history, charming architecture, and countless benefits they continue to offer to this day. Whether you appreciate their architectural elegance or value their role in providing practical and affordable housing, there is no denying the lasting appeal and importance of terraced houses in our communities.