It has been said that happiness is living in a Georgian house, close to Waitrose.

Personally, I prefer to be near a good Sainsbury’s and a fishmonger, but I agree on the Georgian architecture. We are lucky enough to be able to vouch for this, first hand. Symmetry, proportion and good use of natural light, what’s not to like?

Beauty inspires people, calms the mind and lifts the spirit.

Why then are we building ugly, little houses and tiny flats, unfit for human habitation? Part of the problem is that London property is viewed as an “asset”, rather that a place to live. London property will sell, no mater how ugly, there will be a willing landlord to invest.

Why are we building ugly houses?
English homes, once the envy of the civilised world, are now some of the smallest and ugliest in Europe. Houses and flats from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s have been getting smaller, with less natural light – stripped of any architectural merit.

Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian?
Whilst our ancestors the Georgians, mastered proportion, the Victorians may have been a little over the top, but they left us a legacy of high ceilings, attractive windows and 12 inch skirting boards. Edwardian houses are also sought after, usually larger and more elegant than most.

If you look at today’s new builds- what do they really say about our culture?

Spectator article here

Most people love Georgian architecture, which is in fact surprisingly high density and space efficient

Yet modern houses appear to be designed by the blind,  finishing touches by greedy developers.

© Ladysarahinlondon

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11 thoughts on “London: housing shortage and small ugly places

  1. anhistorianabouttown

    Living in Dublin for a year gave me a hearty appreciation for Georgian architecture- I think that it is a shame that properties going up around the world are so bland and boring. I wish that architects would hearken back to those days!

    Reply
  2. lady sarah in london Post author

    The main obstacle is developers and house builders, they are the ones with the money who commission the architect. Architects could follow the same principles as the Georgians, the golden section etc. We are not talking about pastiche here…

    Reply
  3. Susan

    The bottom line dictates first and second is profitability. That said, if someone wants to commission a custom build you get exactly what you want.

    Reply
  4. silkpathdiary

    Oh don’t get me started, this is something I despair about! There’s the most beautiful 6 bedroom Edwardian home near to my daughter’s school and it has been on the market for well over a year. Unusually it has only had 2 owners since it was built and has practically all of the original features still in place (you can imagine!). Yet no one wants to or can buy it although it is in a perfectly lovely commuter town close to everywhere pretty much. I dread, absolutely dread some company or landlord buying it and converting it into bedsits/student accommodation.

    I have it on excellent authority that it costs no more to build decent, attractive homes with the same materials but the developers want to cram as many houses into an area as possible using the least skilled labour as they can possibly get away with. These developers are cashing in on people not knowing the facts and on the general housing shortage.
    It’s not just the lack of aesthetics, it’s practical too, no storage space factored in and barely parking space these days. Did I say I despair ….!? And of course, it all impacts on the next and future generations.

    Reply
    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      I am surprised to hear that the Edwardian house hasn’t been snapped up by a family- near a school too… do you think it’s overpriced?
      I dislike newbuilts, as you say no storage, ridiculously small windows, and tiny rooms. A lot of them are also sold as leasehold, another problem…

      Reply
  5. dottoressa

    I love both Georgian and Edwardian houses,they are beautiful in their balance and proportions
    I really don’t like when houses and apartement buildings are squeezed on too small parcels,without methodical urbanistic planning
    Dottoressa

    Reply

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