Homes in 1914

So what were houses like in 1914?

In our series The Great War – Through a London’s Child, we’re following “The Private Diary of Edward Hampton” to learn about life as a London child in 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War.

So what were houses like in 1914?

At The Geffrye Museum in London, they’ve recreated a typical house you might have found in London at the time.

The room in the image above represents the drawing room (what we’d call a lounge nowadays) of a semi-detached house in Golders’ Green, one of the new suburbs of North London in 1914.

These cottage-style houses would usually have oak fireplaces, simple mouldings and low ceilings. They’d tend to have French windows, which allowed direct access to the garden and ensured the room was light.

Electric power was also a new feature in these houses.

The drawing room was comfortably furnished for daily family use, rather than kept for best occasions as it would have been in the past.

Click here to find out more on The Geffrye Museum’s website!

Rich houses

Very rich people at the time lived in fine country houses, with gardens, stables for horses, and lots of servants to look after them.

Some of these became military hospitals during the war as they were ideally placed outside of major cities and had lots of space for wounded soldiers to recover.

Click here to explore more on the BBC Schools website!

Poor houses

At the other end of the spectrum, the very poorest families lived in run-down houses, called slums.

These slums tended to be old and dirty buildings that were overcrowded and would have many families sharing the same toilet and drains.

A whole family might have to live in two rooms, using one as a bedroom where everyone slept in the same bed.

Click here to find out more about life in 1914!


The Great War – Through a London Child’s Eye is supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund


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