If you’ve always lived in something modern (ie 1950s onwards), you may yearn to live in a house that has some history – and for many people, that’s only true of Victorian or earlier. Some people are more flexible and will include the more recent Edwardian properties. There’s something utilitarian, however, about modern flats and houses, and although they have their advantages, soul isn’t always one of them. But you should also prepare for some challenges in an older house, so let’s take a closer look at the Victorian era and see what its houses have and haven’t got going for them.
Advantages are, thankfully, plentiful and here are just some of them:
- Handsome architecture – in the mid/late-19th century, there was a considerable interest in reviving earlier styles, with some influences also coming from the Middle East and Asia. The medieval Gothic style was another inspiration for Victorian architects, and all of it adds up to one of the most characterful periods in the history of the country’s buildings.
- High ceilings – who doesn’t sigh with relief at the thought of plenty of headspace after they’ve had years of being boxed in by rooms barely over seven feet high?
- Fireplaces – standard in many Victorian homes, there’s just nothing like a fireplace for making your living space an absolute haven from the outside world.
- Sash windows – if you’ve lived with soulless modern windows with plastic frames, a sash window will be like a breath of fresh air. Alas, that might be literal fresh air because they’re not quite as efficient at keeping the elements out, and you could struggle with getting permission if you want double-glazing or any kind of replacement.
- Attractive details like coving, cornices and ceiling roses. Ceiling roses gained popularity during the Georgian era and maintained it through several subsequent periods, including the Victorian.
- Thick walls – you’re less likely to hear your neighbours or be bothered by their piano-playing, music and general living noise.
- Wind and cold getting in more easily.
- Gardens getting less direct sunlight because the buildings are taller than modern ones.
- DIY and upkeep always more complicated – these houses have had to withstand all the changes in the ways we administrate utilities and plumbing.
- High ceilings pose decorating challenges that are decidedly complex.
- Walls are less precisely structured, so lining up wallpaper is more difficult.
- Problems like dry rot are more prevalent.