Victorian Period 1837-1901

The advance of the industrial revolution during the Victorian Period triggered great social and architectural changes. It was a time of unprecedented growth of cities as people moved from the countryside to earn more money in manufacturing than they could from agriculture. With an increase in the amount being produced in the new factories and mills, roads, railways and bridges were developed at speed to enable goods to be efficiently transported and exported.

The influx of people needed to cope with this production increased pressure on housing, leading to the creation of small, identical rows of terraces houses close to industry, The more senior your position in the business the further out of the city you could afford to live. Larger terraces and semi - detached houses were built in the suburbs. Business owners built mansions in the country in which to reside.

Victorians employed a variety of styles in the creation of their new buildings. Often they were a revival of a historic style and were chosen to represent the values of the institution it housed. Multiple styles were often used in a single building. Decoration was seen as a hallmark of 19th Century architecture and woodcarving, plasterwork, sculpture and stained glass were all freely employed. The wealthy could afford more elaborate ornamentation and finer detailing, although mass production made decoration available to all.

During this period new materials became available due to the mechanisation of industry and expanding transport options. Stone, machined bricks, Welsh slate and Baltic timber could all be imported and were therefore used more widely. The use of cast iron also increased as pieces could now be factory made.

The increased industrialisation of the building industry did have some negative impacts, in particular the decline in hand craftsmanship that had been a staple of the built environment for centuries.