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Author Topic: A unique Victorian housing style...  (Read 1426 times)
Siliconous Skumins
Server Monk
Rogue Ætherlord
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« on: May 13, 2014, 01:37:17 am »

This may be of interest to some who have an interest in 'Vicwardian' period housing. Smiley

The "Tyneside flat" is an interesting quirk of North East England, essentially it is pairs of single-storey flats within a two-storey terrace; the down stairs being one self contained flat, and the upstairs being another. The upper flat has a stairway leading from directly behind its front door, the lower has a long hallway from the other door, which links the rooms. They vary in size, usually the lower flat has one or two bedrooms as it is made slightly smaller by the staircase to upstairs. Some upper flats use the attic space for additional bedrooms and may have three or four bedrooms, spread over two floors, and usually with a dormer window to the front. Typically in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the parlour was also used as a bedroom; often a special sideboard with a foldaway bed inside was used for this purpose, or some other easily folded and stored bedding solution.

The sideboard would look something like this, with the bed hidden away in the cavity behind the two cabinet doors:

A typical Newcastle street, note the Pairs of doors:

The properties were extended to the rear by an offtshot, a common feature in Victorian terraces, containing the scullery.

The scullery was often used as a "bathroom", with the Belfast sink and a tin bath providing the needed function, and often a wooden board placed over the bath as a work surface (laundry, chopping vegetables, etc). Originally the kitchen was usually the largest central room, containing a cast iron coal range for cooking, and the smaller scullery in the rear offshot. Water was only provided in the scullery, with a Belfast sink and usually a wash 'copper' (a coal fired set pot boiler) for laundry. Over time, many of these sculleries were converted as kitchens or bathrooms (often divided in two to form both - though both horribly small and cramped!), which allowed the previous kitchen to be used as a larger living room - the parlour then becoming a front bedroom.

Families often occupied a pair of flats, with parents in one and grandparents in the other. Generally though, you would know your neighbours well (sometimes too well - there was not much sound proofing between the floor / ceiling...), though that doesn't mean you always liked them. More often than not, the whole street / block knew what everyone else was up to.
Although now 100–150 years old, their construction standards were generally good and they are still considered solid and reliable buildings. The first Tyneside flats was the Shipcote Estate in Gateshead, built by William Affleck; the earliest are thought to be those in Woodbine Terrace, built between 1866 and 1870.

I have a photograph of one of these estates under construction, and an original land title deed from 1901, if anyones is interested in seeing them.  Smiley


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