We always read property ads and see phrases such as ‘original Victorian features’ or ‘beautiful Georgian townhouse’. But how can we tell the difference between the periods and their characteristic features? Let’s have a look to find out.

Georgian architecture 1714-1830s’

Spanning through the reigns of George the I, II, III and IV. Influenced by the Tudor period, Georgian architecture remained based on classical ideas of construction. Inner London Georgian houses were easy to build in symmetrical rows and incorporated the internal dimensions for the needs of the families of its time.


Georgian houses are recognisable from a number of features:

  • One of the most noticeable features are the flat, shallow and squared roofs with small windows jutting from the eaves.
  • Elongated rectangular windows which are the largest on the raised ground and first floor where the family would have spent their time. The windows become smaller towards the top of the building as this would have been the servants living quarters
  • Stucco fronted external ground floor (especially regency houses), this may also include stucco cornices.
  • Columns and proportions are symmetrical. The frontage is straight and flush stem from classical styles preceding this era.
  • It is typical to find a fan window often positioned above the front door
  • Oil lamp and extinguisher are now rare features which you may still find on the street in front of the property
  • Many Georgian houses had small back yards, but not front gardens and pathways. This concept came later, with the Victorian era which was more grand and opulent with wide tiled garden paths leading to a grand front door.
  • Cast iron railings at the front of the property is another tell-tale sign of this period.

Internally, these properties are generally laid out over three to four floors. Kitchens were usually in the basement. The ground and first floor typically have large, high windows. The rooms were spacious, boxy and squared, with symmetrical and generous proportions, boasting the fabulous high ceilings which are a well-loved feature of these period properties today. One of the most visible clues is the intricacy of the ceiling plasterwork found in genuine Georgian residences.



There are many examples of Georgian architecture in London which can be found in Belgravia, Mayfair, Bloomsbury, and Fitzrovia.

Most famously, Number 10 Downing Street was constructed in true Georgian style.

The mansions that line regents park are an excellent example of this period and in Camden,

Little Green street consists of a small row of grade II listed houses from the Georgian period, although this example is not in the most opulent style, they are an excellent example of traditional Georgian characteristics.

Houses you can visit include the Benjamin Franklin house (near Trafalgar Square). Benjamin Franklin lived here for 16 years in the mid-1700s’ and is open to the public.
Dennis Severs House– Folgate Street, this house is part of the row of Georgian terrace houses and is open to visits to explore this era of London history and architecture.


Victorian Architecture 1837-1901s’

Compared to the previous period, the Victorians retained some of the features of Georgian grandeur and symmetry but wanted to show more wealth and abundance leading to more ornate and elaborate design details.

Heavily influenced by the renaissance and gothic revival movement, homes from this period were more opulent than their predecessors. Victorian architecture moves away from classic form and more towards individual expression with some gothic influence leading to a more detailed and intricate style.


  • Pointed roofs, sometimes decorated with wooden beams, roof gables, dormers
  • Bay sash windows
  • Tiled garden paths, sometimes in colourful patterns
  • Steeply pitched roofs which are great for loft conversions
  • A more complicated architecture. Porches, bay windows
  • Larger and more regular shaped bricks than previously handmade ones
  • Stained glass panes
  • Ornamented ridge tiles on the roof
  • Wooden barge boards around the rook and possibly a decorative finial
  •  Garden both at the front and back

This era saw the implementation of window tax, which levied a fee determined by the number of windows in ones’ property. The more windows a property had, the richer the owner was considered. This led to many shrewd property owners bricking up unnecessary windows, a feature which is visible today on many streets in and around Notting Hill. This tax was abolished in 1851, making way for buildings such Leaden-hall. This beautiful indoor London market is covered by a series of windows that would not have been possible a few years previously, similarly Paddington and other stations are built in the same way.

Internally, this period continued to construct large spacious homes. Victorian design saw kitchens moved from the basement to the ground floor at the back of the house. Dado rails become popular. And with opulence came rich, dark colours and fireplaces in every room.



Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Primrose Hill, and Hampstead display some excellent examples of Victorian architecture. Buildings such as Big Ben or Kings Cross station perfectly demonstrate the lines of the style of the Victorian era with its points, grandiose style, and ornate details. The Houses of Parliament are also an example of Victorian/Gothic style.

In Kensington and Chelsea, Au outstanding example of Victorian architecture is 18 Stafford terrace in Kensington. The house remains in true design, including the internal décor, and is open to the public to share the Sambourne family history and show Victorian style in its original form.



Edwardian architecture 1901–1918

The Edwardian period marks a return to the classical while retaining a touch of Victorian pointiness and style. Whilst these properties keep design aspects from both of the previous eras, they are slightly less ornate than their predecessors. These grand houses tend to be found in more suburban areas due to their footprint and layout. These properties were built to suit the needs of their time, taking into account the change in socio-economic conditions,



  • One of the most common features of an Edwardian home is a front porch- this was the period of front porches. It was must have to keep up with the Jones’s, and porch indicated one’s financial standing. The more well-off, the more intricate the design of the porch.
  • These properties were typically laid out over two floors on larger plots of land. Although built with fewer rooms, these tended to be more spacious than previous eras.
  • Many Edwardian houses have wooden painted balconies on the first floor.
  • This new period of design no longer included servant living quarters due to the effects of world war I when domestic staff had moved away from service and into factory work.

Internally, wider hallways, lighter colours through the living quarters characterise this period. Duel aspects rooms became fashionable as did French windows opening out to the back garden. Another popular feature of Edwardian homes was parquet floors.



Ealing and Putney provide good examples of Edwardian architecture in central London. The Mapesbury area in Kilburn and around Willesden Green also consist of houses from this period.

In North Kensington, houses from this period are found along St Quintin’s avenue W10. Oxford gardens and surrounding roads are also good examples of grand Edwardian architecture.


For period properties to buy in Notting Hill & Holland Park- Click here

For period properties in Bayswater & Queensway- Click here

For period properties in Kensington- Click here