Architecture
24/Jun/2022
5 minutes

Georgian Architecture: London’s Iconic Architectural Style

While London has an abundance of architectural styles, its Georgian architecture dominates many of the city’s most iconic buildings.

The Benjamin Franklin House and 10 Downing Street are just two examples of buildings from the period. But, what exactly characterises Georgian architecture?

In this architectural guide, we’ll examine Georgian architecture and the features that tell you a building is from this era.

When Was The Georgian Period?

George I, George II, George III, and George IV were the Hanoverian kings of Georgian England. They reigned from 1714 to 1830. Our history books are full of stories about Georgia’s rise to international power. Eventually, Britain became the world’s first industrialised nation – quite an accomplishment at the time!

During this time, Britain not only prospered on an industrial scale but also established a new architectural style: Georgian architecture.

Throughout the Georgian era, a lot of impressive buildings were built in London. Even though it’s been more than a century since the end of the Georgian period, the beautiful Georgian architecture still stands.

Key Features of Architecture in The Georgian Era

There are many ways to identify Georgian architecture, which was heavily influenced by ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The Greek revival style drew its inspiration from classical architecture, such as restrained lines, complementary proportions, and symmetrical designs.

A Georgian townhouse is a perfect example of the classical architecture that flourished back then. With beautiful columns, grand entrances, and arches, it’s clear to see why so many people were blown away by Georgian architecture.

Georgian Townhouses in The 18th Century

Georgian architecture quickly spread around the world, and not just in the U.K. The U.S. and Canada adopted it, too, with many country houses being built in the Palladian style.

Both Georgian townhouses and Georgian country houses became British favourites during the 18th century. Many of these homes built in the classical architecture style are today public buildings, and many are still homes.

How To Recognise A Georgian Building Today

  • It’s easy to spot a Georgian-style building when you know what to look for. Here’s a quick guide on how to spot a Georgian house:
  • 3/4 storeys in height – both Georgian townhouses and Georgian country houses were set over at least 3 storeys;
  • Sash windows – tall windows were generally found on the first and second floors with smaller sash windows on the remaining floors;
  • Symmetrical exterior – exteriors of Georgian architecture were kept simple with symmetrical features;
  • Balanced interior – inside a Georgian home, you would find a symmetrical layout which drew upon creating elegance and finesse;
  • Stucco-fronted – throughout the early Georgian period, the ground floor was rendered with the rest of the exterior exposed. However, in the late Georgian period, houses would be rendered from top to bottom;
  • Situated around garden squares – because Georgian townhouses didn’t have their gardens, they would be built around garden squares instead;
  • White or cream renders – the renders of all Georgian-style homes were either white, off-white, or cream. This also drew upon the classic Roman architecture style that the Georgians drew much of their inspiration.

In many British cities, you’ll see Georgian-style terraced houses. Neoclassical architecture lives on long after the Georgian reign!

Georgian Architecture In London: 5 Must-Visit Locations

It only takes a short stroll around London to relish in some of the beautiful Georgian architecture. However, if like us, you’re a fan of a good architectural tour, here are our recommendations for some of the best examples of Georgian architecture in the capital.

Little Green Street

Tucked away in Camden, this small cobbled street is just 10 houses big and all of them are Grade II listed. Constructed in the 1780s, it stands as one of the oldest streets in the city of London and has been famous not only for its Georgian architecture but its cultural legacy. The Kinks used Little Green Street to film one of their earliest hits, Dead End Street.

Bedford Square

There’s no better example of a charming Georgian Square than Bedford Square. Located in the area between the British Museum and Tottenham Court Road, the square was built in 1775. With a classic garden in the centre which is privately owned, the square’s Georgian buildings are wonderfully preserved.

Canonbury Square

George Orwell moved to Canonbury Square in 1944 and resided in the top flat of a Georgian townhouse for quite some time. In fact, he wrote Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four while he was a resident here. Constructed between the years 1805 and 1830, Canonbury Square is a prime example of Georgian architecture.

Dennis Severs House

Dennis Severs House has a strange history and unsurprisingly involves artist Dennis Severs who transformed the house into a still life. Once belonging to the Jervis family, today the old house which was built in 1724 stands as a time capsule.

Handel & Hendrix House

Brook Street is one of the busiest areas in London, however, here you’ll find two humble terraced houses with a fascinating history. Both George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix were once former residents of these homes. The houses are amazing examples of prime Georgian townhouses and look as they would have hundreds of years ago.

What Makes Georgian Architecture Unique?

Georgian architecture is known for its perfect proportions and sense of balance. Using simple mathematical ratios, both the exterior and interior were symmetrical. You’d find that balance was maintained in floor plans, furniture, and decorative elements throughout early Georgian interiors.

What Is Neo Georgian architecture?

Neo Georgian architecture refers to the revival of classic Georgian architecture. It is also a term used to describe the building style of the late 19th century in the U.S. which saw a comeback for Georgian architectural elements.

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