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Brickfields Homes through time
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Roman Homes

The Romans built some very grand buildings which reflected how powerful they were. Temples and government buildings, and even the homes of the very rich Romans, were built of stone or brick with pillars, arches, statues and mosaic floors. There had never been buildings like these in London before and they were very expensive to build, the stone had to come from miles away as there was none in London. The walls were often painted a terracotta colour. Terracotta is a type of pottery that is a pinkish brown colour.

The roofs were made of terracotta tiles and they had drainage and heating under the floor. The Romans even made concrete! This must have been very impressive to the average Londoner who before the Romans arrived lived in a roundhouse made of wood with a thatched roof.

Even when the Romans ruled England most Londoners continued to live very simply in timber framed houses with wattle and daub walls and thatched or wooden roofs. Wattle and daub is made by weaving branches (wattle) together and covering them in mud (daub).

No one knows if anyone lived in Hackney during this time, but if they did, unless they were a wealthy Roman, they would have lived in a one or two-roomed wooden house like this. It would have been a very hard life without heating or a bathroom and without even any furniture. People would get their water from a stream, cook on a fire and sleep on the floor.

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A reconstruction of an Roman street in the city.
A reconstruction of an Roman street in the city. © Museum Of London Archaeology Service

Roman villa
A Roman villa. © Fishbourne Roman Palace/Sussex Archaeological Society.
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