The Edwardian House

The Edwardian period began when Edward 7th came to the throne in 1901

Even though the Edwardian period was much shorter than the Victorian era, there were so many houses built during this time that you’ll find Edwardian houses everywhere!  Maybe you live in one?

This was a period when the new middle class grew significantly and demanded, and could afford, to live in larger, more comfortable and airy houses that weren’t in the middle of noisy areas.  The expansion of the railways enabled people to live in new leafy suburbs outside noisy towns and cities but still commute in and out of work easily.

Many different styles of houses were built in these new suburbs – detatched, semi detatched as well as terraced houses, many built from local materials.  Most people could not afford to buy their own homes – and could not borrow the money easily from banks, so most homes were owned by investors and rented out to tenants.

Fun Facts about the Edwardian period

  1. Edwardian HouseEarly Edwardian houses were lit by gas light – much better and brighter than candles, although candles were still mostly used upstairs in the bedrooms.  But a new invention soon started to revolutionise that – electricity started to be available from 1913.
  2. It was around this time that houses began to have a bathroom– instead of bathing in front of the fire and going to the toilet outside.  Most people still used chamber pots or had an outside loo though – very chilly in winter!
  3. Although there were more and more motor cars on the roads, it would be a while before houses needed garages because only a few rich Edwardians could afford cars and most people had to do make do with walking!

Classic Edwardian features

  • Edwardian houses tended to be shorter in height than Victorian homes.  It was less common to have servants, so houses no longer needed cellars and second floors.
  • To help the woman of the house to do the cleaning, surfaces were designed with smooth and straight lines, and many families got rid of their many ornaments and knick knacks which collected dust and were a real pain to clean!
  • Lots of Edwardians wanted to show off their new found wealth. One way they could do this was by putting fancy decoration on the outside of their houses. Look out for half timbered gable ends (with black faux beams and white render), carved woodwork on balconies and porches, and as well as pretty tiles on the walls and paths around the entrance to the house.
  • Flooring – parquet flooring was common
  • Walls – mouldings such as dado rails and plate rails, picture rails and architraves were popular.

Let’s go looking for Edwardian buildings!

  • Old War OfficeThe Old War Office in London, which was built in 1906, has about one thousand rooms, and is linked with over two and a half miles of corridors!
  • The Old Bailey, near St Paul’s Cathedral, is another Edwardian building but hopefully you’ll never have to see the inside of it because it’s the central criminal court in the country!
  • But if you like films, why not plan a trip to the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill?  It was built in 1910 and is still showing films today.

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Images courtesy of the Geffyre Museum