In architecture terms, a terraced house is a style of housing in use since the late 1600’s in the UK, where a row of symmetrical / identical houses share their side walls. The first terraced houses were actually built by a French man, Monsieur Barbon around St. Paul’s Cathedral within the rebuilding process after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Interestingly, it was the French that invented the terraced house around 1610-15 in the Le Marais district of Paris with its planned squares and properties with identical facades. However, it was the 1730’s in the UK, that the terraced house came into its own in London and of course in Bath with the impressive Royal Crescent.
However, we are in Aylesbury, not Bath, so the majority of our Aylesbury terraced houses were built in the Victorian era. Built on the back of the Industrial Revolution, with people flooding into the towns and cities for work in Victorian times, the terraced house offered decent livable accommodation away from the slums. An interesting fact is that the majority of Victorian Aylesbury terraced houses are based on standard design of a ‘posh’ front room, a back room (where the family lived day to day) and scullery off that. Off the scullery, a door to a rear yard, whilst upstairs, three bedrooms (the third straight off the second). The law was changed in 1875 with the Public Health Act and each house had to have 108ft of livable space per main room, running water, it’s own outside toilet and rear access to allow the toilet waste to be collected (they didn’t have public sewers in those days in Aylesbury – well not at least where these ‘workers’ terraced houses were built).
It was the 1960’s and 70’s where inside toilets and bathrooms were installed (often in that third bedroom or an extension off the scullery) and gas central heating in the 1980’s and replacement Upvc double glazing ever since.
Looking at the make up of all the properties in Aylesbury, some very interesting numbers appear. Of the 29,792 properties in Aylesbury …
4,469 are Detached properties (15.0%)
9,503 are Semi Detached properties (31.9%)
9,701 are Terraced / Town House properties (32.5%)
6,104 are Apartment/ Flat’s (20.4%)
And there are 15 mobile homes, representing 0.05% of all property in Aylesbury.
When it comes to values, the average price paid for an Aylesbury terraced house in 1995 was £51,590 and the latest set of figures released by the land Registry states that today that figure stands at £236,820, a rise of 359% - not bad when you consider detached properties in Aylesbury in the same time frame have risen by 234%.
But then a lot of buy to let landlords and first time buyers I speak to think the Victorian terraced house is expensive to maintain. I recently read a report from English Heritage that stated maintaining a typical Victorian terraced house over thirty years is around sixty percent cheaper than building and maintaining a modern house.
Don’t dismiss the humble terraced house – especially in Aylesbury, it will do you proud!