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.
here for activity sheet