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    Victorian housing

    The sixty-four year reign of Queen Victoria saw many changes in architectural and interior design with inspiration drawn from diverse sources. Among the most enduring characteristics of the period included ceramic tiled flooring in geometrical patterns. Generally found in hallways and kitchens, many of these highly decorative floors have been destroyed, but for those fortunate enough to find a property with one still intact, repair and cleaning will produce a striking feature.

    The Victorians used both plain and patterned – also called encaustic – tiles. The pattern of encaustic tiles is inlaid into the tile rather than being produced by the glaze, so as the tile wears down the pattern remains.

    Brick or stone Victorian houses were built using lime mortar and any re-pointing should be carried out using the same material. The Victorians also favoured the angled face of the weatherstruck jointing method.

    The Victorian period coincided with the beginning of the mass production of plate glass. Consequently houses built in this era were designed with windows with larger panes, as illustrated by the popularity of the vertical, sliding, sash window with four or six panes. Windows of this type could be rectangle or arched.

    Staircases underwent quite a transformation during this period. At the beginning of Victoria’s reign staircases were generally elaborate in design with twisting balustrades and carved from a single piece of wood. Later, simpler, less ornate designs became fashionable.

    Other features associated with the Victorian period include cast iron fireplaces in ostentatious designs; deep skirting boards; and interior doors with stained or etched glass panels.

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