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Victorian 1837 - 1901

Victorian buildings can be identified from typical features illustrated in these listed buildings

Use this glossary from the 'Looking at Buildings' website to check the meanings of unfamiliar words.

Many buildings survive from the Victorian period, which saw an explosion in house building, development of housing estates and suburbs. The Victorians built grand, lavish country houses, churches and public buildings but also numerous terraced houses and smaller villas, with builders moving away from local materials to more mass produced bricks and imported tiles.

There is no one Victorian style of architecture. The two main styles; Classical and Gothic Revival, had many variations and incorporated features from other European countries with an emphasis on reviving older architectural designs such as Greek and Tudor.

The Victorians had a love of ornamentation and contrasting colours. They often mixed a variety of styles and features in one building; a striking contrast to the plain symmetry of the Georgian period.

IoE number 475810 © Mr Rodney Allen

Gas Green Baptist Church, Russell Street, Cheltenham, c1836

This Nonconformist chapel is typical of many built in this period in a simple classical style and found mainly outside town centres, often, as here, among rows of terraced houses. Built as a 'preaching house', clergy and congregation share one space; they were cheaper and less ostentatious than Gothic churches.

Features include; stucco [plaster] over brick with contrasting stone decoration; plain facade with gable; variety of window styles; arched central doorway.

216204 © Mr Keith Suddaby FRPS

Manchester Road, Southport, Merseyside, early nineteenth century

A pair of semi detached villas in classical style built for wealthy middle class families and generally found in the suburbs.

Features include; stucco [plaster]; slate roof; bay windows; classical style pillars; verandah.

IoE number 388963 © Ms Pamela Jackson LRPS

Oldham Town Hall, Greater Manchester, 1841

Typical of many imposing public buildings erected in prominent locations in towns and cities, in classical style based on Ancient Greece as a acknowledgement of democratic government.

Features include; massive scale; impressive entrance with steps, classical pillars and pediment; different coloured dressed stone.

IoE number 318826 © Dr Robert Slade

Terrace of 24 cottages, Taunton Street, Railway Village, Swindon,
1850 - 53

One of the streets in the development built for the Great Western Railway Company workforce. These are two storey buildings with a separate dwelling on each floor, all two rooms deep. The downstairs houses were reached through a passage on the front, upstairs by lean-to stairs from the walled rear yard. Toilets were in the rear yard.

Features include; cottage style; slate roofs; rubble limestone walls; brick chimneys; dressed stone around windows.

IoE number 045454,  © Mr Nick Jarvis FDPS, ARPS

Bletchley Park House, Buckinghamshire, 1860

A large country house used by the government to house code breakers during World War Two.

Features include; Brick and stone [ashlar] in contrasting colours ; half-timbered gables; pebble-dash; slate roof with contrasting red tile ridge; ornate brick chimney stacks; decorative wooden barge boards; a variety of window styles including bay windows; ornate turrets.

IoE number 245958 © Miss Jennie Anderson

St Philip and St James, Woodstock Road, Oxford, 1862

One of the many Anglican churches built in Victorian Gothic style with typical layout of nave for congregation, tower and chancel for clergy beyond.

Features include; impressive size and style; multi coloured [polychromatic] brickwork; arched windows; tower in French style.

IoE number 318670  © Dr Robert Slade

 

Bath Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, c1860-1880

A terrace of five houses for middle class, white collar, workers set in a row of Victorian houses in varying materials and styles. Decorative features based on those designed for large country houses were mass produced for local builders from a set of stock patterns.

Features include; contrasting red brick and dressed stone, particularly used around windows; slate roofs; 3-storey and attic; 2 rooms deep with side passage; mixture of windows including bay windows.

 

IoE number 350794 © Dr W A Cooper LRPS

The Old School, Soulbury, Buckinghamshire c 1870

The 1870 Education Act resulted in the building of many new schools. The Gothic Revival style was popular, harking back to the Tudor period.

Features include; contrasting coloured bricks forming patterns to resemble timbering; slate roof; tall chimneys; high lancet [pointed arch] windows; gables; bell tower.

IoE number 204324,  © Mr David March

Durning Library, Kennington Lane, Lambeth, Greater London, 1889

This library has been inserted into a row of older buildings and is an example of the Victorian Gothic style and a civic response to the growth in education.

Features include; elaborate facade; very steeply pitched slate roof ; French Gothic style tower; Venetian style patterned tiling around pointed gothic arches; tudor style chimneys; open arcade in front of door; balconies with balustrades; decorative tiles and terracotta bands [contrasting colours and materials]; oriel [bay] window; highly decorated Flemish style gable.

IoE number 388553 © Mr CJ Wright LRPS

Parade Street, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, c1896

A typical row of Victorian red brick terraced houses fronting directly onto the street.

Features include; contrasting terracotta panels over windows and doors; slate roofs; recessed doorways; same decorative details repeated in all houses.

IoE number 378547 ©  Mr GW Tanner ARPS

Former Chubbs Lock Works, Wolverhampton, 1898-99

This factory, now a media centre, was built in a plainer style and still dominates its site between the city centre and the station.

Features include; Red brick with contrasting stone; a series of sills; top cornice [ledge] and deep parapet with lettering; central tower.

IoE number 465650 © Mr Steve Novak

Shop and offices, Vicar Lane, Leeds, 1900

The Victorians rebuilt many city centres providing rows of shops and businesses with accommodation for the merchants and businessmen above.

Features include; brick, stone and terracotta in contrasting colours; slate roof; a mixture of window styles; Dutch style gables with pointed finials.

IoE number 377323  © Margaret Hocking ARPS

 

The Market Inn, Truro, Cornwall, c1900

Many public houses date from this period. This one has a rare complete and unaltered facade.

Features include; multi coloured glazed and terracotta tiles arranged to give a striped effect; triangular pediment with scrolls and ball finials; mixture of sash windows; panelled doors in recessed doorways.

Please note Teachers are advised that not all listed buildings are open to the public and that if you or your students wish to focus on a private building issues of privacy and access must be considered.

For more information and a list of useful publications visit the Victorian Society website.

 

Please note that the inclusion of a listed building on this website does not mean it is open to the public.