Victorian detached house extensions
The detached Victorian house were always for the upper classes and as such
usually had fine external detailing for the abutments and walls. Victorian houses for the middle classes and
upwards tended to have accommodation for servants, often employed to carry out the considerable labour
required to keep the house, including its fireplaces clean and well stocked. Victorian houses of the middle
and upper classes aspired to follow the purest forms of contemporary architecture, for example, the
Gothic or Queen Anne styles..
In addition to general architectural influences, this progressive change in style resulted from several other
factors. In the 1850s, the abolition of tax on glass and bricks made these items cheaper and the coming of the
railway allowed them to be manufactured elsewhere, at low cost and to standard sizes and methods, and brought to
site. There was also progressive introduction from the 1850s of various building regulations. There are a number of
common themes in Victorian housing:
Sanitation : regulations were introduced progressively from the 1850s to raise the importance of sanitation
features, including correct drainage, waste facilities (the "ash pit" or "dust bin"), and toilet facilities either
in the form of an outside privy or inside water closet.
- Hot and cold water At the start of the Victorian era, some houses had running tap water and a
boiler for hot water. By the turn of the century, hot and cold running water were a common feature.
- Lighting powered by gas was available in many towns from the start of the Victorian era. By the
end of the Victorian era, many houses had gas
- A basement with a cellar for the storage of coal, required for open fires and to heat
- Sash windows but with larger panes of glass, from the 1850s, than the
characteristic 6 plus 6 smaller panes seen in Georgian and Regency architecture.
- Victorian houses were generally built in terraces or as detached houses.
- Building materials were brick or local stone. Bricks were made in factories some
distance away, to standard sizes, rather than the earlier practice of digging clay locally and making bricks on
- The majority of houses were roofed with slate, quarried mainly in Wales and carried by
rail. The clay tiles used in some houses would be available locally.
Extending a Victorian detached house does not usually present any major problems as they are normally sited on
larger plots with greater side distances to the boundaries creating less constraints under planning.
However, many have limited or no off road car parking provision so adding additional bedroom space can be
problem as the Planners normally require compliant off road car parking facilities for extra bedrooms.