Period living: how to tell if a house is Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian (2024)

Period living: how to tell if a house is Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian (1)

Whether you’re house hunting or watching property programmes on TV, it’s common to hear older buildings being described as Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian.

These are the three main types of ‘period’ houses, meaning those which were built before World War One.

Although you may not find them in all homes, each era has its own tell-tale period features to look out for. See if you know which features belong to which period.

Common features of Georgian homes

Date: The Georgian period was between 1714 and 1830, when four King Georges in a row held the throne.

The houses built during this time are typically elegant, formal and symmetrical and probably one of the most famous examples, is London’s 10 Downing Street. They are also the most in demand style of house in the UK [1].

Other typical features of Georgian houses include:

  • ‘Hipped’ roofs - meaning the roof slopes upward from all the sides of the building - these often have embellished cornices with decorative mouldings.
  • Chimneys were often paired and located on both sides of the houses, reflecting the internal location of fireplaces.
  • Small back gardens with no front gardens and pathways.
  • Townhouses may have three or four storeys.
  • Sash windows with multiple panes. These are taller on the first two floors and smaller windows on the top storeys.
  • Fan lights: the doors often have these above them - a curved or arched top window above the main entrance door - letting light into the hallway.
  • Flat, shallow and squared roofs with small windows jutting from the eaves.
  • Built with local materials: homes were usually made of brick or stone, as it was difficult to transport building material long distances before the railways.

Common features of Victorian houses

Date: Victorian houses were built between 1837 and 1901, when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

Today, they’re very common in villages, towns and cities and is probably the most common period house we see in the UK. [1]

The Victorian age saw the introduction of the modern terrace - with a living room at the front, and a kitchen at the back - to house the many people who moved into urban areas for jobs and a better life.

Thanks to the arrival of plate glass in 1832, Victorian homes are also often light and bright with big bay or sash windows.

Some other features to look out for in Victorian homes include:

  • Iron railings: front iron railings and gates were popular in the Victorian era.
  • Barge boards – the inverted v-shaped fascias on the side of a roof - were popular.
  • Slate roofs, often with ridge tiles made of terracotta, and decorative wooden panels on the ends.
  • Tiled floors in the porch areas and hallway.
  • Stained glass, with floral and geometric patterns, was popular in front door panels and at the tops of windows.
  • Many fireplaces, often with grates. Many have since been taken out or - as is often the case in bedrooms - are no longer working.
  • Patterned bricks: Victorian houses often used what is known as Flemish Brick bond, laying bricks in such a way as to make patterns.

Common features of Edwardian houses

Date: The Edwardian period was much briefer than the Georgian or Victorian eras, spanning just nine years from 1901 to 1910. But it did coincide with a housing boom, particularly in city suburbs.

Houses of the time are often influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, which represented a shift away from mass-production, towards using quality, local, handcrafted goods.

Edwardian building standards were a great improvement on those in the Victorian era and building materials including timber and bricks, were of a high standard.

Other typical features of Edwardian houses include:

  • Wide hallways: typically wider than the Victorian houses that came before them, and larger, brighter rooms.
  • Off road: Edwardian houses were set back from the road, to cater for a desire for privacy. This means they have front garden space (in addition to back gardens).
  • Chimneys are often halfway down the slope of the roof.
  • Steep roofs with gable ends, meaning there is often space for a loft conversion.
  • Glazed: the upper two-thirds of front doors were typically glazed.
  • Fireplace surrounds often have shelving, either above or below the mantelpiece, for ornaments and built-in mirrors.
  • Red brick: houses were often built with red bricks from the local brickworks.

While you can often spot tell-tale signs of the period a house was built in, there was also plenty of variety in each era. But some of the distinctive features of each age make it easy to fall in love with period properties.

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Period living: how to tell if a house is Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian (2024)


Period living: how to tell if a house is Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian? ›

Edwardian homes pioneered the concept of owning a suburban garden, introducing outdoor space, greenery and privacy to each property. Next to go were the high ceilings see throughout the Georgian and Victorian periods; these were soon replaced by wider rooms and a larger hallway.

How do I tell if my house is Victorian or Edwardian? ›

Edwardian homes tend to be shorter than Victorian residences, partly because the middle classes who lived in these homes had less of a need for servants, unlike the Georgian the Victorian generations before them. Gone were the cellars and the second floors, but in came larger halls and spacious gardens.

What is the difference between Edwardian and Georgian houses? ›

For example, Georgian homes typically have grand rooms with high ceilings, especially on the first and second floors. Victorian homes often feature detailed plasterwork and have bay windows. Edwardian homes usually have light and airy rooms and have the addition of a front garden.

Is 1920 Victorian or Edwardian? ›

Although the Edwardian period lasted just nine years from 1901 to 1910, the architectural style is considered to have continued to around 1920, ten years after Edward VII's death.

What does a typical Edwardian house look like? ›

Therefore, many Edwardian homes are set back from the street and benefit from beautiful front gardens. Unlike the smaller, darker Victorian homes, Edwardian houses were more squat, wider and larger, with bigger hallways and more windows to allow in plenty of natural light.

How to tell an Edwardian house? ›

An Edwardian property is often characterised by:
  1. Georgian revival architecture.
  2. Mock-Tudor cladding.
  3. Six over two panel sash windows.
  4. Larger glass panes.
  5. Large proportions.
  6. Simple designs influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement.
  7. Timber framed porches.

Is a 1930s house Edwardian? ›

The majority of house design in the UK within the 1930's continued the Edwardian principles as the Modernist movement failed to take mainstream force. At the end of the war, slums remained a problem in many large towns and almost 500,000 houses had been destroyed or made uninhabitable.

How to identify a Georgian house? ›

Key characteristics of a Georgian property

Large, sliding sash windows with small panes – and a real giveaway is a bricked-up window. Between 1696 and 1851, homeowners had to pay a window tax in place of income tax, the idea being that the more windows a home had, the greater the wealth of the owners.

What does a Georgian mansion look like? ›

These houses typically have a large central main body, smaller hyphens (connectors between the main body and wings), and symmetrical wings. Floor plans are most commonly two rooms deep and are one or two stories tall, with pitched roofs.

What did Georgian houses look like? ›

The exterior is symmetrical and stucco-fronted, so it is rendered in plaster to cover the material used for construction. Buildings are usually two rooms deep, and they are balanced on the inside and outside. In earlier Georgian buildings, only the ground floor was rendered, and the rest was exposed brickwork.

How can you tell if a house is Victorian? ›

Common features of Victorian houses

Thanks to the arrival of plate glass in 1832, Victorian homes are also often light and bright with big bay or sash windows. Some other features to look out for in Victorian homes include: Iron railings: front iron railings and gates were popular in the Victorian era.

What makes a home Edwardian? ›

Most Edwardian homes were built with two storeys, and while they featured fewer rooms than previous architectural styles, the rooms were larger and more airy. Space is the primary feature of Edwardian homes. As the middle and upper classes were thriving, they wanted room for their families and to host gatherings.

Did Georgian houses have bay windows? ›

Georgian windows are easily recognisable, and bay windows are a common feature of Georgian homes. A Georgian bay window typically consists of a large, multi-paned window that extends outward from the façade of a building.

What is the difference between a Georgian house and a Victorian house? ›

Whilst properties dating back to the Victorian period somewhat resemble those of the Georgian era, they are generally smaller in size, with towers, tall chimneys, turrets and bay windows becoming prominent embellishments across many Victorian homes.

Where in the United States do you find Edwardian houses? ›

According to Kropovinsky, Edwardian homes are especially prevalent within major cities in the aforementioned nations—such as London, Sydney, Toronto, and more. In the United States, San Francisco is one such city that is home to many Edwardian houses.

What did Edwardian bathrooms look like? ›

The Edwardian era was a pivotal time in design history and while taking inspiration from the Victoria period, Edwardian's favoured simpler styling. Classic bathroom designs of the time (1901-1910) valued light and open spaces, simple patterns and colours, as well as the necessary luxury finishing touches.

How to identify a Victorian home? ›

“Recognizable characteristics are steep, tiled roofs, painted brick, bay windows, and asymmetrical design,” Dadswell says. “Wooden floorboards, plaster cornicing, sweeping staircases, wooden sash windows, and tiled entrance hallways would have been incorporated into most Victorian homes.”

What is the difference between Edwardian and Victorian age? ›

What's the difference between Edwardian and Victorian? Victorian as an adjective covers the period 1837–1901 (the reign of Queen Victoria). Her son Edward VII reigned 1901–1910 but the Edwardian period is sometimes more loosely considered to be 1901–1914 (i.e. to the start of WW1).

Is 1910 Victorian or Edwardian? ›

After the 67-year Victorian period, the Edwardian period was very short, lasting only 9 years between 1901-1910.

What makes a house look Victorian? ›

Features of a Victorian House

The houses usually have two to three stories with steep, gabled roofs and round towers. On the exterior, there are towers, turrets, and dormers, forming complex roof lines as architects sought to create designs that would pull the eye to the top of the house.

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