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Guide to older properties

We always quote individually for insuring homes built before 1850.

If your home is from this period, please call us on 03457 46 46 46^ for a quote.

In the meantime, here’s a quick overview of building trends between the 1700s and early 1900s.

The Victorian age was one that saw immense changes in every aspect of life. The industrial revolution meant that the pattern of people’s existence changed completely and migration from rural areas to the cities increased like never before.

The architectural designs of the Victorian era have left a long-lasting legacy that is nowhere more apparent than in some of the very homes that many of us live in today.

Mass production of materials made ornamental designs an affordable feature of buildings, whilst architects and builders of the time combined features and styles from previous ages to come up with something completely unique for the time.

In this sense, there is no single Victorian style when it comes to the building of houses themselves. The array of features used ranges from Greek columns to medieval gothic windows and Colonial influences.

Queen Victoria reigned between 1837 and 1901. Because of this long period there was also a large expansion that took place in urban areas during what was considered the ‘Victorian era’ – with millions of such houses dotted around the entirety of the country.

Apart from the influences of design styles on the actual buildings themselves, other factors also came into play with how houses came to look. Up until the 1850s there had been a tax on glass and bricks. When this levy was removed it meant that windows got bigger and buildings could also increase in size.

There was also the introduction of various building regulations relating to sanitation, meaning that drainage, waste and toilet facilities became standard features. In almost all cases this meant the introduction of an outside toilet and certainly didn't include a dedicated bathroom inside the house - things which most would now find unimaginable.

Urban Victorian houses were generally built in terraces and that gave rise to the distinctive sight of so many classic streets in the UK today. The 'sash window' design benefited from the removal of the 'window tax' and led to larger panes being fitted as standard, making houses lighter and generally more airy in atmosphere. This represented a distinct change from the previous smaller pane designs set around a traditional pattern of six that were characteristic of the previous Georgian and Regency eras.

If you are lucky enough to own a house built in the Victorian era you know that the standard of workmanship involved in the construction was good enough to last well over a hundred years, and still shows no signs of falling foul of the passing of time. Maintenance and the replacement of worn materials is a necessity, but such is the case with any investment that undergoes daily wear and tear.

Many people don't realise that their home insurance policies can be vastly affected by the type of property they live in when it comes to calculating the premiums that are paid. Older properties often need a thorough updating of security measures to benefit from potential reductions in costs. This often means fitting standardised locks, but sometimes includes alarm systems and other deterrents.

The description of 'Georgian' houses means that they were built between 1720 and 1840, the period covering the reign of the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover. These included George I, George II, George III and George IV.

Some of the houses that remain from this era are grand structures, but there are also many that are lived in by ordinary people across the country. Some of the most famous houses in the UK are in the Georgian crescents that can be found in cities such as London, Edinburgh, Bath and Brighton, though the classic terraced row also has its origins here.

There are many stylistic features that mark out a house as being from this era. Early Georgian designs from 1700 - 1780 feature a strict symmetry around a simple one or two storey box shape, two rooms deep with a central panel front door. Decorations can include complex mouldings and cornices along with multi-pane windows which are symmetrically arranged. Windows feature small panes of glass because the material was subject to a heavy tax until 1850.

Heating of homes during these times would have been from wood or coal burning fireplaces. Georgian houses can often be identified by their use of chimneys on both sides of the home.

In many aspects Georgian architecture was a reaction to the highly ornate nature of the previous Baroque style and this goes a long way to explaining its relative simplicity and use of symmetry. The 'golden ratio' was used by architects and designers of the era to enhance the overall aesthetic qualities of their creations.

One of the best things about these homes is that they have stood for hundreds of years – a testament to the quality workmanship of the era. If you are buying a Georgian home it is important to protect it with building and contents insurance.

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