The First British Bungalow

Single storey dwellings under the name Bungalow have been around since the mid-19th century. The bungalow became both a symbol of bohemianism and the building type of choice for the aspiring upper middle class seeking an affordable second home in which to enjoy the new concept of ‘the weekend’. Dr Andy Brown, Planning Director at Historic England, takes us through the mysterious origins of the bungalow in Britain. The first modern British bungalows were designed by little-known English architect,  JohnRead more

A Changing Climate: Water, Flooding and Historic Buildings

Water. We can’t live without it. Throughout history living near water has been important for almost every aspect of human life and for the resources and raw materials that rivers, lakes, wetlands and the sea provide. But living in close proximity to water is not without its challenges. In 2009 The Environment Agency estimated that 1 in 6 properties in England (5.2 million) were at risk of flooding.  There are 1.8 million people currently living in areas at significant riskRead more

The Mysterious Case of the Witch Bottle

In the 16th and 17th centuries, many people believed in witchcraft, and blamed ill-fortune such as their crops failing or the death of a loved one on a witch’s curse. People would do anything to ward off an evil spirit, from creating counter-curses to marking their doorways to keep the witches out. Nowadays we enjoy stories of magic and witchcraft as a part of English folklore, knitted into the history of our historic places, many of which may still holdRead more

A Brief Introduction to…Vernacular Houses

First things first, what is a vernacular house? These are houses built to reflect local customs and traditions using locally available materials like wood, stone and brick. They are ordinary, rather than monumental buildings and so different from region to region that they are a vital part of England’s local distinctiveness, defining the country’s much-loved landscape. Some of these simple houses are now listed and celebrated as nationally important. They are irreplaceable evidence of how our ancestors used to live, build andRead more

Innovation and the Country House

When you visit a country house open to the public, look beyond the elaborate plasterwork, elegant furniture or collections of Old Masters and ask how the family and their servants lived from day to day in such houses. Innovative technological advances of the time where adopted, and can still be found on display, particularly in those country homes which have now opened up their servants’ quarters to the visiting public. Here are 6 objects which contributed to comfortable living:  Written byRead more