Design of the Period House - 1900-1919

The two decades between 1900 and the start of the First World War are called the 'Edwardian' period, although strictly this means from from 1901 to 1910, the reign of King Edward VII.

The Queen Anne style remained in vogue into the early Edwardian period. The influence of the Arts and Crafts movement meant that vernacular traditions remained but new styles were adopted, including a new version of English 18th century classical, in other words neo-Georgian. The wealthier patrons of architects and designers persisted with French classical styles, particularly Louis XVI.

House designs of these first few years of the 20th century exhibited:

  • a 'Tudorbethan' style, taking ideas from the Arts and Crafts movement, with rough cast walls, small paned leaded windows, magpie-work and rustic bricks, as well as Jacobean details such as gargoyles, heraldic devices, mullioned windows, studded doors and Dutch gables
  • a neo-Georgian style with large bays and sash windows, columns and pilasters
  • Edwardian electic style - an evolution of the Victorian terraced, semi-detached or detached house in an Eclectic style with Art Nouveau influences in fireplaces, light fittings, stained glass and door furniture

As in the later part of the Victorian period, it is hard to label most Edwardian houses as being of a single style; they fall into the category of 'Edwardian eclectic', with a mix of styles and ideas. The typical middle or working class home was built by a small builder who would buy a plot of land, build one or two houses and immediately sell them freehold or leasehold to a landlord. This speculative builder built what he liked, was familiar with and could sell easily and profitably.

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The Edwardian House Explained

The Edwardian House Explained
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Writers continued to attack this jumble and looked for a new national style. However, pure Arts and Crafts products were too expensive and not available in sufficient quantity. Many furniture and building products were therefore machine-made, influenced by Arts and Crafts styles. The mock-Tudor, 'Tudorbethan' cottage architectural style appeared from the late 1890s but was scorned by 1910. Needless to say, it persisted, and has continued to the present day. Meanwhile, the battles between the designer camps continued; Art Nouveau - and its Scottish variation - was reviled by Voysey and Walter Crane.

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