From the traditional to the modern, there are many diverse architectural styles found in the UK. The castles in the UK, some of which are centuries old, are among the country’s most recognizable structures. Cathedrals, monasteries, and historic mansions are some more well liked tourist destinations. There are numerous renowned museums, galleries, and parks in the UK. Particularly in London, there is a thriving cultural scene with some of the world’s top museums and art galleries. However, even local private homes can dazzle an onlooker with their various styles that coexist in harmony that adds charm to our beautiful country.
In this article, we will look at the most interesting and unique historical styles which you can find across the UK and detail what makes them a good choice for your home if you are planning to build your family nest or you think of renovating your existing house to fit into the styles seen around the country.
Gothic Revival Architecture
The Gothic architectural style emerged in Europe in the 12th century. It is distinguished by its ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and pointed arches. Gothic architecture frequently features intricate embellishments and is tall and slender. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Westminster Abbey in London are two of the most well-known Gothic structures in existence.
Most impact on the Gothic Revival came from the eminent English philosopher and art critic John Ruskin (1819–1900). Ruskin thought that medieval Europe’s ornate, heavy brick architecture, as well as the working system of guilds, in which artisans banded together and coordinated their non-mechanized methods to make things, were expressions of man’s highest spiritual values and creative accomplishments. In his writings, Ruskin described design ideas that were based on European Gothic construction. A commitment to Gothic guilds represented a rejection of mechanization throughout the Industrial Revolution and a love of handicrafts.
When we talk about private housing, this style is not too commonly used, but can be seen when we talk about repurposed churches and abbeys that have gone into private use these days. The main features of such houses are slightly asymmetrical floor plans, windows with pointed arches, lacy bargeboards, and steeply pitched roofs. Other features include slight cross gables, bay and oriel windows, and vertical board and batten siding are features of some dwellings that employ Gothic revival style. Materials typically used for homes in such a style are built from brick, however houses that would be more accurately assigned to Carpenter Gothic style also come styled with wooden boards on their façade.
The late 15th century saw the emergence of Tudor architecture in England. Half-timbered structures, with exposed wood framing filled in with plaster or bricks, are what give the area its distinctive look. During the reign of King Henry VIII in the 16th century, Tudor architecture attained its pinnacle of popularity.
In London, particularly in the area surrounding Westminster and the Tower of London, you may find some of the outstanding specimens of Tudor architecture. Generally speaking, Tudor houses have a few things in common. The roof is sharply pitched and has numerous front-facing overlapping gables. Next, Tudor-style homes often have a facade that is primarily made of brick with half-timber framing as an accent – widely spaced wooden boards with stucco or stone in between. Each home also has several prominently situated brick or stone chimneys. The windows are taller than those in other homes, and the Medieval-style character is reflected in the rectangular or diamond-shaped panes. In most cases, the front doors also have a somewhat castle-like look. Since asymmetrical architecture is common among Tudors, doors and doorways are frequently off-center and have round arches at their tops, which contrast with the brick.
The 18th century saw the emergence of the Georgian architectural style, which was popularized by King George I. It is distinguished by its symmetry, ease of design, and usage of classical components like columns and pediments. Georgian architecture was very well-liked in the UK and its colonies and is still prevalent in many cities today. London, Edinburgh, and Dublin are home to some of the finest examples of Georgian architecture.
A traditional Georgian house is rectangular or square, made of brick, and has symmetrical columns, shutters, and windows. Interior rooms had high ceilings, window headers, and crown molding, and grand entrances were frequently adorned with pediments, arches, and columns. Symmetrical wings on either side expand the center block of larger homes. Georgian houses typically have two and a half stories and a front door that is ornately decorated with a pediment that resembles a triangular structure above it or a transom window above the entranceway.
England saw significant upheaval during the Victorian era. The Industrial Revolution occurred during this time, which fueled the growth of the middle class. Public structures like libraries and museums were ordered by the middle class and were built in the Victorian era.
Ornate and elaborate designs are characteristics of Victorian architecture. In public structures like courthouses and train stations, this architectural style was frequently employed. Bold hues and patterns are another hallmark of Victorian architecture, and that can be seen in both public and private housing of that style in the UK. An old Victorian home can be identified by its large staircases, large mantles, large fireplaces, and closed-off rooms. No open floor designs are allowed in order to stay true to this style. Instead, expect high ceilings with crown molding or elaborate woodwork, dark wood trim, built-in cabinetry, and hardwood floors that are often dark in hue. Elaborate entryways, stained-glass windows, and few compact bathrooms are all hallmarks of this style.
The Arts and Crafts Movement had a significant influence during the brief Edwardian era, which lasted from 1901 to 1910. In opposition to mass production in the Victorian era, the movement encouraged straightforward design and a love of the handmade.
Following the Victorian era’s boom in real estate development, Edwardian home builders were compelled to construct houses where there was more room, leading to the creation of “garden suburbs” like the one in Hampstead. Therefore, Edwardian houses were more squat, wider, and airy, with larger hallways and more windows, as opposed to the smaller, darker Victorian dwellings. Due to the rising demand for seclusion at the time, it was typical for Edwardian homes to have front gardens and to be set back from the street. Sometimes living rooms would have windows on both ends, with a short, sloping roof covering them from the outside.
The characteristics you should employ in your exterior design to adhere to Edwardian style include hardwood at the top of the house, mock-Tudor cladding, red brickwork, and a porch with wooden frames. Wider, brighter spaces, parquet wood floors, and straightforward inside ornamentation can also be implemented in a spirit of this style for your house.
And with this overview of the most common British styles of old you will not only be able to put a name to various styles of homes that can be found around the UK, but can also take inspiration from any given style and turn your house into a historically-inspired mansion. Approaching exterior house renovation with this knowledge and insight can give you an advantage and enable you to make effective house renovation and design choices that are bound to significantly increase your property value.