Queen Victoria is still the longest reigning monarch in UK history and reigned from 1837-1901 and her reign saw the British Empire expand to become the biggest empire time had ever seen.
As the railways expanded then so did the ability to carry materials over large distances and with that Britain saw its first large housing boom. Houses that were traditionally made of local stone, timber and straw could now, for example, be built of bricks from London and slate from North Wales.
Victorians also enjoyed a particular style of house and typically it had: Bay windows, iron railings, patterns in the brickwork made from coloured bricks, stained glass in doorways and windows, encaustic floor tiles (AKA Victorian Floor Tiles), roofs made of slate, and sash windows. This article will look at the areas where people tend to get confused i.e. Victorian Interiors including flooring.
An important point is that the quality of the Victorian house finish was directly related to the status of the house. So for example the Victorians saw pine as an inferior timber that should be painted, pine would never be seen in its naked form. Dado rails were very popular in the middle of the Victorian period and were popular in hallways and dining rooms where they protected the plastering on the walls from chair backs and people rushing through. Wallpaper is generally where the amateur DIY enthusiast gets confused. Wallpaper is probably most important feature in a Victorian room. Many good reproductions of the many designs are available today – but some investigation should be carried out first.
Carpets were a key element to any floor but designs and colours were very limited, patterns were dark green, red or pink and white and designs were large incorporating flowers, animals and geometric shapes. Many homes had some carpets, but there was usually a two-foot wide margin around the perimeter. Floorboards would often be stenciled or painted with geometric or floral designs. In the wealthier Victorian home encaustic tiles (these have lately become to be known as Victorian Floor Tiles) would be found. These tiles should be made of concrete in which the geometric pattern or figure on the surface is not a product of the glaze but of different colors of clay. The word encaustic to describe inlaid tile of two or more colours is technically incorrect as it actually means to “burn” and describes the process of producing the tile in Greek!