I have developed a profound fondness for terraced houses, prompting me to delve into comprehensive research that I believe will captivate my fellow readers of this property market blog!
From an architectural standpoint, the concept of terraced or townhouse living has been deeply rooted in the UK since the late 1600s. These houses form symmetrical rows, sharing side walls, and exude a charming appeal. The honor of pioneering the first terraced houses goes to Monsieur Barbon, a forward-thinking Frenchman who constructed these dwellings around St. Paul's Cathedral during the meticulous rebuilding phase that followed the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Interestingly, it was the French who initially invented the modern terraced house concept around the years 1610-1615 in the iconic Le Marais district of Paris. This distinctive housing style boasted planned squares and properties with identical facades. Nonetheless, it was during the 1730s that terraced houses truly flourished in London, and Bath witnessed the magnificence of the Royal Crescent.
The Victorian Era marked a significant period of terraced house construction. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, people flocked to towns and cities in search of employment. Terraced houses emerged as a viable solution, offering decent and habitable accommodation amidst the bustling urban landscape. These houses were a refuge from the squalor of the slums, providing a safe haven for families.
Intriguingly, most Victorian terraced houses followed a standard design. They typically consisted of a "posh" front room reserved for special occasions, a back reception room where the family spent their daily lives, and an attached scullery - a small kitchen at the rear of the house used for carrying out household chores. Beyond the scullery, a door led to a rear yard, where one would traditionally find the privy or outside toilet. Upstairs, there were two generously-sized bedrooms, accompanied by a smaller third bedroom or nursery, which was directly accessed through the second bedroom.
Notably, in 1875, the Public Health Act stipulated specific requirements for terraced houses. Each house had to offer at least 108 square feet of livable space per main room, access to running water, an external toilet or privy, and rear access for waste collection. These regulations aimed to improve the living conditions of workers' terraced houses, as public sewers were still a rarity at that time.
As time progressed, modern amenities found their way into terraced houses. During the 1960s and 70s, indoor bathrooms and toilets were installed, often in the previously mentioned third bedroom or as ground-floor extensions of the scullery. The 1980s witnessed the prevalence of gas central heating systems, radically transforming the comfort levels of these houses. Since then, there has been a continuous replacement of windows with uPVC double glazing, further enhancing energy efficiency.
While two-storey terraced houses experienced a lull in construction after the mid-20th century, they made a triumphant comeback in the 1960s, albeit marketed as "townhouses." However, with the rapid rise in the price of building land since the early 2000s, new home builders have embarked on the construction of innovative terraced houses, ensuring the legacy of this timeless architectural style lives on.
From their historical significance to the benefits they offer, terraced houses remain an integral part of our architectural heritage. Their enduring charm, efficient use of space, and ability to adapt to evolving needs make them an appealing choice for those seeking a home filled with character and history.