Page C1.1 . 10 September 2008                     
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    Houses for Victorians

    by Robin Guild

    Underlying the almost infinite variety of Victorian houses were a few basic structural forms, repeated millions of times over by builders following well established principles.

    The Masonry House

    The detached masonry house was built of load-bearing brick or stone with a single masonry cross-wall, the remaining interior walls being non-load-bearing wooden stud partitions. From the early part of the 19th century, the foundations were a series of brickwork steps laid directly on the excavated trench, diminishing as they rose to the width of the wall.

    The first part of the wall above the ground is the plinth, generally a few courses of different-colored brick or perhaps a different finish of stone. Above the plinth, there rises the rest of the wall, in some instances stone facing bonded, for economy, into a brick backing, which provides structural stability.

    Then comes the cornice, for example a stone coping, to throw water away from the wall, and finally, to complete the composition, the roof.   >>>

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    This article is excerpted from The Victorian House Book by Robin Guild, copyright © 2008, with permission from Sheldrake Press. Published in North America by Firefly Books.

     

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    The balloon-frame house became common in the U.S. Midwest in the mid-19th century.
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    Construction of masonry houses during the Victorian era was based on earlier building techniques.
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