Edwardian Houses 1901 – 1920
The Edwardian period describes a period of time from the beginning of Edward VII reign to his death in 1910, although he died in 1910 this period continues until after the end of the First World War.
The Edwardian age is when we saw the advances made in the Victorian age taken to new industrial heights with mass production. Increases in industry meant that the coal industry, Iron and Steel manufacture and clothing sectors saw an increase in jobs and the rise of the middle classes.
This meant that Britain was one of the most powerful countries at this time with the largest navy world. In the Edwardian era there was a sense of prosperity and national pride.
As the Victorians before them, the increase in population and wealth in the middle classes led to an increase in house building.
There was a rise in the new middle classes and a demand for airy, larger homes that were easily commutable to the towns and cities. New suburbs sprung up on the edges of cities and towns in leafy outskirts close to the new railway lines.
Mortgages were not easily accessible at the time so 90% of homes were owned by investors and rented out to tenants.
These new garden suburbs consisted of a mix of semis, villas and terraces, built from local materials. Edwardian houses tended to be shorter in height than the earlier Victorian homes. Rooms for servants were no longer needed so gone were the cellars and second floors. 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 wanted to show off their new found wealth. External decoration was 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. Entrances were tiled on both walls and paths.
What we have today is an impressive array of houses that were large wide and tall this is probably due to cheap land prices at the time. The standard of material for house building of this time was generally very high although it was still common for many houses to have the front aspect built from a more expensive brick and the sides and rear with a cheaper brick to save money.
Although stone was available in most areas of the country it was still expensive so most Edwardian houses were built with red bricks from the local brickworks. Brick colour did vary regionally depending on the type of clay used. Different colours were produced but these bricks were used for internal work or used for the rear and side aspects of the building. Most of the period houses used the red brick as this was the fashion of the time. The front of the house would have been built using a better quality red or a specialist facing brick.
This was the technique of using a mix of fine sand and crushed brick this was moulded into shapes and patterns before it was dried and fired in a kiln. This would usually be unglazed and would have been coloured red and sometimes a cream colour.
This method of production took place in Staffordshire and it was used for the decorative plaques and tiles on the front of houses.
Roughcast and Stucco
The rendering of houses over the exterior material has been used for many hundreds of year. This was used to cover cheap bricks or to cover the property for added waterproofing. Many properties had a pebble dash added to the process for a decorative finish.
Stucco is the name for smooth fine renders which had been used in early and mid-Victorian properties. It was popular because it could be lined or painted to look like fine stone work.
During the Edwardian phase basements became less common because serving staff now tended to live in the main house and not hidden in a damp cellar as was the case in Victorian times.
Most houses of this time used and improved version of the stepped foundation which was 3 courses of brick as the base and reduced to 2 bricks on top until the cavity was started. The improvement was these were laid on a base of cement which considerably improved stability unlike the Victorians who lay there’s on soil.
Damp proof course
Damp proofing courses were not regularly installed in any building construction method until the introduction of the Public Health Act in 1875. So by 1901 they had been used for several decades and they were well understood why they are used. They are usually fitted between two courses of bricks at a level of 2 – 3 bricks above ground level. At this time there are several different types of DPC being used either a layer of sand and tar, thin strips of lead over lapped, lead core felt or engineering bricks due to their density and do not retain much moisture at the base of the wall.
Tongue and groove boards became the most popular form of flooring in homes. Entrance halls were normally tiled.
Wood types were pine boards which were widely used; oak and teak were reserved for grand houses and villas.
The types of fixings were tongue and groove fixing or face nailing was the norm.
The style was polished oak and teak was found in grander houses. Pine was varnish-stained around the edges to frame a carpet and rug. Wall-to-wall carpets were introduced, initially into the principal reception rooms. Parquet was still popular and was constructed from blocks 2.5cm thick, laid on a cement base covered in bitumen. Parquet in suburban houses was usually constructed from panels of thinner blocks fixed to a cloth backing. The most common parquet style was herringbone, stained or polished and found in kitchens, hallways and living rooms.
During the Arts & Crafts period wood and stone were the only acceptable forms of flooring. Tiles became the predominant material in entrance halls during the Art Nouveau period.
In Arts & Crafts buildings, the preferred wood, oak, was simply polished to enhance its natural beauty. The finest floors were cut from the full-width of tree trunks. The movement also created the trend for floors and wall panelling to be stained in similar dark tones. Staining, however, was reserved for inferior woods. In Art Nouveau interiors, carpets and rugs were considered the main decorative features so wood and parquet borders were polished to provide a simple, complementary backdrop.
Don’t be damp Be Dri call us today and let us help you with any of your damp proofing, woodworm treatments, wall tie replacement, repointing brickwork and wet and dry rot issues.