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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mind the Gap

I have long been fascinated by the architecture of Britain's houses. Not the "Grand Designs" type of architect designed one-offs, but the roads of terraced houses, Victorian and Edwardian houses; the different gables, the stained glass, the tiles. I've been looking for a book that explains all the history and traditions for some time and have finally found one, a new book, The Book of The Edwardian and Interwar House by Richard Russell Lawrence.

Our house dates from the 20s (or so I thought, but a neighbour told me they were flattened in the war and rebuilt in the 1950s). I was thrilled to find similar looking houses in the Interwar section known as "tooth and gap" houses. These were built speculatively in developing areas and feature overhanging eaves above bay windows. The plan of the house was asymmetrical but, built as a semi-detached pair, it developed into the pattern which would become known as "tooth and gap".

Despite its more recent heritage our house retains some of the original stained glass in a side window (pictured).The last owners attempted to replicate the design when they selected new windows but the result is not very sympathetic.

There are no other original features except for a ceiling rose. I would love to turn back the clock and reinstate a black and white tiled hallway and appropriate fireplaces, but given that the "drawing room" now looks like an extension of Comet, (J's description) I fear this would also look unsympathetic.

(NB. On the subject of "Mind the Gap," do you think the woman who was hired to deliver the message in the tube stations gets paid royalties?).

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