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Brickfields Homes through time
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Victorian Homes

A huge number of houses were built during the Victorian period because the population grew so dramatically. Many of these houses are still standing today. You might even live in a Victorian terrace street. Victorian houses were made of brick with tiled roofs. Window tax was abolished in 1837 and Victorians invented a way to make big panes of glass, called ‘sheet glass’, so houses had bigger windows. Bay windows became popular too, like the one in the picture on the right.

Houses were often very decorative with fancy brickwork and iron railings or stained glass in doorways and windows. Some houses even had weathercocks on the roof which showed which way the wind was blowing and which way was North. This is typical of the Victorians’ interest in science and nature.

However lots of poorer people in Victorian times lived in horrible cramped conditions in run-down houses, often with the whole family in one room. These houses were known as slums and they became a matter of great concern to Victorians.

One man, Charles Booth, did a survey of the whole of London to find out what conditions people lived in. This identified large numbers of people living in slums, especially in the East End. Some people who were concerned set up charities and trusts to help. One of these was the Peabody Trust set up in 1862 to provide housing for the poor. The homes they built were very different to what had been before; some of them were blocks of flats and they had things like inside toilets and a constant supply of water. Some even had gas lighting. However, the standards of these flats meant the rents were relatively high and the poorest people that Peabody sought to help could not afford them.

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A typically decorative Victorian terrace with bay windows.
A typically decorative Victorian terrace with bay windows.

A Victorian villa in Hackney.
A Victorian villa in Hackney.
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