If you are wondering, 'How old is my house?' or ‘What era is my house?’ we are here to help!
Here we’ll go through the most common era properties – plus we’ll explain how to work out how old your home is, learn more about its history and discover more about UK houses through the ages.
Why do you need to know what period your house is?
The more you know about your home, the more you will admire its uniqueness and enjoy its character. When renovating, knowing your home’s age will also ensure that changes appropriately respect and preserve its history.
In addition to this, if you’re purchasing a property, your mortgage lender will need to know how old it is. In part, this assists in understanding risks associated with the home’s age, as well as ensuring greater accuracy when determining value. Because period properties are highly desirable and those with period features are greatly coveted, asking prices on period properties tend to reflect desirability.
What is a period property?
All properties – even the newest – date from a certain period, so why is it that certain homes are described as period while others are not?
There is no specific definition of a period property, but in general, the term ‘period’ is used when describing properties that were built prior to the First World War. For example, Pre-Georgian houses including intriguing Elizabethan structures and splendid Queen Anne buildings certainly fit the description, as do Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian properties.
4 bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Burgh Street, Islington, N1. £1,595,000 (Freehold) SOLD (SSTC)
The Georgian period began in 1714 with King George I and lasted until the death of King George IV in 1830. It was an exciting period for architecture, with designs incorporating large windows designed to heighten natural light. In place of smaller, darker rooms common in previous eras, Georgian homes offer larger rooms intended to prioritise comfort while maximising space.
During the Georgian era, the staff occupied the upper storeys, while the owner and their family lived on the first and second storeys. That’s why upper rooms are typically smaller, with less impressive windows and lower ceilings.
What are the main characteristics of a Georgian property?
- Sash windows with small panes. It’s common to see one or more bricked up windows on a Georgian house; these are the result of the window tax levied between 1696 and 1851.
- Taller windows on the first two floors; smaller windows on upper storeys.
- Large kitchen located on the lower ground level well away from the main living area.
- No private garden; instead, many Georgian homes were erected around garden squares or built within a terrace.
- Stucco fronted exterior with a flat, symmetrical appearance.Balanced, roomy interior layout.
You’ll notice that Georgian architecture embraces a variety of styles, but all are elegant and symmetrical, often with flamboyant neo-classic touches.
7 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, High Road, Chigwell, IG7. £1,750,000 (Freehold).
View this impressive Georgian period property for sale in Chigwell.
5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, Alderbrook Road, Balham, SW12. £1,850,000 (Freehold)
View this handsome Victorian period property for sale in Balham.
After the Industrial Revolution, wealth was distributed across a much larger sector of society, creating the beginnings of a middle class and making home ownership a reality even for those who were not wealthy landowners, landlords, or members of the gentry. This period began in 1830 and ended in 1901, coinciding with the rule of Queen Victoria I.
Because many Victorian homes were built on terraces, along narrow streets, it’s common to see footprints that are longer and thinner than those of typical Georgian homes. Many Victorian properties are a single room wide, with a narrow hallway. Some feature two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs.
As Queen Victoria’s reign was so long, there is quite a bit of overlap between the end of the Georgian period and the beginning of the Victorian period as well as between the end of the Victorian period and the beginning of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
What are the main characteristics of a Victorian property?
- High ceilings
- Large bay windows
- Stained glass windows
- Brickwork porches
- Brickwork in contrasting colours
- Geometric tiles in hallways
- Patterned wallpaper; usually floral
- Wood floors
- A fireplace in each room
- Elaborate, detailed features that reflect the personalities and wealth of the homes’ owners
Watch for a few other features that make it easy to identify a Victorian property: An asymmetrical design, steep, pointed roofline, and lavish decorations are key elements.
6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Abbotts Park Road, Leyton, E10. £750,000 (Freehold)
View this handsome Victorian period property for sale in Leyton.
The Edwardian period was short, lasting only from 1901 to 1910. Edwardian properties display a heavy Arts and Crafts Movement influence; carved features are common, along with more decorations on building exteriors. Porches and verandas are typical features, along with larger gardens, stylish multi-panel windows, and wide, squat footprints. Timber framing, pebbledash, and hanging tiles add even more interest to Edwardian home exteriors.
Inside, Edwardian homes are light and bright, with fireplaces, staircases, and elaborate tilework taking pride of place in spacious rooms designed for social gatherings. We’re fortunate to enjoy so many wonderful examples: There are over four million Victorian properties in the UK today. That’s approximately one in every six houses.
What are the main characteristics of an Edwardian property?
- Neighbourhoods feature houses built in straight lines
- Mock-Tudor cladding and timbers, typically toward the top of the house
- Red brickwork
- Parquet wood floors
- Ornate tilework
- Wide hallways
- Brighter interiors
- Large windows
You can see the aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts Movement reflected in buildings that date to the Edwardian period. While simpler than their Victorian counterparts, these properties offer many decorative touches inside and out.
Identifying other noteworthy homes
Pre-Georgian architecture encompasses medieval, Tudor, and Stuart architecture, along with Elizabethan and Queen Anne properties. Pre-Georgian homes typically feature a gathering space called a hall. This isn’t a passageway; rather, the hall in a historic home is a room with open space from floor to ceiling, and an opening that allowed smoke from the central hearth’s fire to drift up and out.
While open halls were mostly phased out by the end of the 16th century when chimneys and upper storeys gained popularity, houses with medieval roots retain smoke-blackened rafters.
One reason why so few pre-16th century domestic buildings survive is that earth walls and timber framing were used in all but the best houses. By the end of the 16th century, masonry was incorporated into chimney stacks and bricks were used to infill timber framing. By the end of the 17th century, entire buildings could be constructed of brick.
As the 21st century unfolds, many argue for the inclusion of later 20th century structures in the catch-all phrase “period home.” Some to keep in mind include:·
Addison homes, 1919: Reminiscent of countryside cottages, these government-issue, working-class homes are heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement.·
30s Semi, 1918 – 1939: Also influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, these homes typically feature curved bay windows, hipped roofs, pebbledashed walls, mock timber framing, and recessed porches.
4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, Midholm, Hampstead, NW11. £995,000 (Freehold)
View this 1930s Semi property for sale in Hampstead.
Art Deco, 1920-1940: It’s easy to recognise an Art Deco home; the architecture emphasises open floor plans, plain white walls, flat roofs, and unique Egyptian-inspired decorative elements.
Airey Houses, 1940s: After the devastation of the Second World War, thousands of families needed homes and building materials were hard to come by. As a result, homes were mass-produced in factories and transported to building sites, where crews quickly set them into place. Airey houses feature metal tubing and concrete columns. The plain glass windows are smaller than those in most other homes.
70s Terrace, 1970s: Appreciated for their affordability, modern amenities, and light-filled spaces, 70s terrace homes often feature garages weatherboarding, and hanging tiles. Spacious gardens are a common feature.
90s New Build, 1990s: Traditional cottage-style features, mock timber framing, and other old-style design elements pair with comfortable amenities, making 90s New Build homes highly desirable.
Modern Minimalist, Contemporary era: Modernist architecture has regained popularity. Solar panels, open plan interiors, large windows, and exposed steelwork are some features to watch for in modern, eco-friendly homes.
How to find out how old your house is
If you have a period property but you aren’t quite certain of its age, there are a few simple ways to learn more:
If your property is a listed building, you may be able to learn more by reading the list description, as it provides the best possible estimation of the date your house was built.
Find out how much your property is currently worth
If you would like to find out more about a period property from any era, or if you’re looking for a period property to buy or rent, give us a call on 0207 099 4000.
Or, if you’re curious as to how much your home is currently worth, you can get an up-to-date valuation in just 60 seconds by clicking here.