Terraced houses boast a captivating and illustrious history that traces back to the late 1600s in the UK. Architecturally, they showcase symmetrical structures with shared side walls, fostering a unique and vibrant sense of community.
Fascinatingly, the concept of terraced houses was actually pioneered by the French in the early 17th century, primarily in the enchanting district of Le Marais in Paris. It was subsequently introduced to London following the Great Fire of 1666, when Monsieur Barbon constructed these delightful dwellings near St. Paul's Cathedral during the city's extensive rebuilding phase.
Throughout the 1730s, the popularity of terraced houses surged in cities like London and Bath, resulting in iconic developments such as the magnificent Royal Crescent. These architectural marvels emerged as a direct response to the Industrial Revolution, as a growing number of individuals flocked to urban areas in search of employment opportunities. Terraced houses emerged as a solution to the escalating demand for housing, providing suitable and habitable accommodations that offered respite from the impoverished conditions prevalent in the slums.
During the Victorian era, terraced houses adhered to a standardized design. Typically, they featured a "posh" front room reserved for special occasions, a back reception room where families spent their daily lives, and an attached scullery used for washing dishes and carrying out various household chores.
Some terraced houses even boasted an outdoor toilet situated in the rear yard. Upstairs, spacious bedrooms were accompanied by a smaller third bedroom or a nursery accessible from the second one.
It's worth noting that in 1875, the Public Health Act introduced regulations governing terraced houses. These regulations mandated that each house provide a minimum of 108 square feet of livable space per main room, access to running water, an external toilet or privy, and rear access for waste collection. These measures aimed to enhance the living conditions of residents, given that public sewers were not widely available during that period.
Over time, terraced houses underwent various modifications to meet evolving needs and standards. In the 1960s and 70s, indoor bathrooms and toilets were added, often by repurposing the third bedroom or expanding the scullery on the ground floor. The 1980s marked the prevalence of gas central heating, and older windows gradually gave way to uPVC double glazing.
Even in recent times, terraced houses continue to be constructed, often marketed as "townhouses." These multi-story structures seamlessly blend modern amenities with the charm and character that define traditional terraced houses, encapsulating the best of both worlds.