Peak Inside the Typical Regency Era Townhouse

Peak Inside the Typical Regency Era Townhouse

Have you ever wondered about the inside layout of a typical London townhouse? Of course, there were variations in design, size, styling, and decor to these upper-crust neighborhood dwellings. For the wealthy, money was not a huge concern. On the other hand, land was a premium commodity and the narrow, often oddly shaped lots created a challenge for the architect. The following cutouts and floor plans from townhouses built during the Georgian and Regency periods give an idea of what was standard.

 

1750 London townhouse
1750 townhouse (click to enlarge)

 

The standard London townhouse of the 18th century was a brick-built, flat-fronted house on four or five floors with regularly spaced sash windows and often a canopy over the front door. As in the previous century, the ground floor was sometimes used as a shop or for running a business and the houses were built on the line of the pavement with no front garden.

 

Mayfair townhouse
A house on Charles Street in Berkeley Square
Georgian dollhouse
Georgian dollhouse (click for larger view)
1720 Georgian
Etching from 1720

 

The Regency Town House was built on what had already become the traditional layout for town houses. The domestic offices for the servants were in the basement, the formal rooms were on the ground and first floors and the bedrooms on the floors above. Due to higher land prices in towns, even large houses tended to be built upwards on long, narrow plots. At the back of the house there was a coach house, stable block and quarters for the coachmen and grooms.

Grosvenor plan

British History Online has several pages of house plans and descriptions for Grosvenor Square before 1926: HERE  

 

townhouse cutout

 

Not all Georgian townhouses were narrow, however. Wealth afforded wider street-front property in the posh residential neighborhoods such as Kensington, Mayfair, and St. James. Some of the mansions built within these districts leaned toward being independent houses rather than true townhouses with joined side walls. The image below of Lansdowne House on Berkeley Square is difficult to read, but note the corner location, enormous walled courtyard, and huge rooms. The map down further shows the location on a lovely single lot between two streets, another example of London city living.

 

1765 Lansdowne
Plans of Lansdowne (Shelbourne) House 1765, designed by Robert Adam as a private house and for most of its time as a residence it belonged to the Petty-FitzMaurice family, Marquesses of Lansdowne and earls of Shelbourne (hence the name Shelbourne on the plan).
Selfridge_LansdowneHouse_Greenwood'sMapLondon1830edited_wiki
Note Lansdowne House between Charles & Bolton Streets, SW corner of Berkeley Square.

 

A wonderful resource on English houses through the eras is this book, written in 1864 by Robert Kerr and available on Google Books: The Gentleman’s House, or How to Plan English Residences.

11 Responses to Peak Inside the Typical Regency Era Townhouse

  1. I have always wondered what a London townhouse looked like. This reminded me of a recent conversation I had with someone who grew up in London who was telling me that the homes there are much smaller than in the U.S.

  2. Love this post as I am always wondering about the homes during our favorite era. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Interesting post, Sharon. I did wonder about the number of bedrooms in a townhouse. It looked like there was only one bedroom or possibly two at most. Was that typical for a townhouse versus a regular house because of the lack of property? I do wonder as Richard usually has a bedroom consigned to him and occasionally other guests show up at Darcy’s home in London. And Darcy and Georgiana would have separate rooms and possibly Darcy’s wife when he marries. Are we stretching circumstances a bit from the reality? 🙂

  4. I love these posts Sharon! I think you posted something similar once before but if so it definitely bears repeating. I absolutely love that gorgeous dolls house! My daughter had a Sindy House and a shop made for her by my Dad. He made most of the accessories as well – fabulous job!
    I really enjoy seeing the cross sections and how the families occupied these houses. This, fashion posts and your ‘guess what it is’ posts are my favourite way of learning Regency history. Thank you.

  5. This is awesome info Sharon. While I was reading this and looking at the houses, I am also imagining FD, ED and GD moving in it with their hourse guests etc. Thank you for sharing

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