Sturdy and neighbourly: the enduring allure of the terraced house
The terraced house is perhaps one of this country's most reproduced gifts to the world of architecture. With their origins in the housing boom that followed the Great Fire of London in 1666, terraced houses later became popular with the wealthy urban Ã©lite in Georgian England and some good examples survive in Bath's Royal Crescent and London's Belgravia.
But it was in the Victorian era that the familiar redbrick terrace was built in huge numbers as a low-cost, high-density way of housing the thousands of workers who moved to the cities to take up jobs in the factories and mills of industrialised Britain.
Some were built in single rows, with a yard at the back of each house, and others were built back-to-back, giving each home three next-door neighbours.
Many back-to-backs were bulldozed after the Second World War, when so-called slum-clearances saw whole streets razed to make way for the new, high-rise alternatives.
But terraces were built in such numbers that great quantities still remain, dominating large swathes of our towns and cities to this day. What has changed is people’s attitudes towards them. Once thought of as the lowliest form of housing, in many areas they are now seen as solid investments.
Often extended and improved through the imaginative use of back yards and roof spaces, their simple design remains flexible enough for modern living, as well as being easy to maintain. In fact, one recent study found that repairing a standard Victorian terraced house over 30 years is around 60 per cent cheaper than building and maintaining a brand-new house.
Another survey concluded that Victorian terraces are on average almost £1,000 per 100 square metres cheaper to maintain and live in each year than houses built after 1980, largely due to the quality of the materials used.
As a result, their popularity has increased and many are highly sought-after. In fact, terraced houses are now being built again in great numbers, often with a garage on the ground floor.
The following three properties are all terraced and all currently for sale locally.
In Pannal, south of Harrogate, 3 Rosehurst Terrace is a deceptively spacious mid-terrace Victorian property on Mill Lane, just a short walk from Pannal station. It has four bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and two reception rooms, and on the lower ground floor there is kitchen, wetroom, living room and an additional room which is currently used as an office, but the whole floor could be converted into a self-contained flat. Outside, there’s an off-street parking space and a shed which is currently used as a workshop but which could also be used as a garage.
One stop up the line, not far from Hornbeam Park station, is 10 Grey Street, a classic two-up two-down mid-terrace home. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and two reception rooms, and to the rear there’s a low-maintenance garden with shed.
In Burton Leonard, 2 Church Lane is a double-fronted cottage on the end of a beautiful stone-built terrace. It too has two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and two reception rooms, plus a utility room.