The Architectural History Of Beaconsfield
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The Architectural History Of Beaconsfield

Since it was first recorded on property returns in 1185, the South Buckinghamshire market town of Beaconsfield has become renowned for its Georgian and Tudor Revival architecture. Much of which dates back to the 1700’s and 1800’s, at which point it was used as a stopping point for individuals travelling between London and Oxford by coach.

The Georgian architecture, which was common place across the United Kingdom between 1714 and 1830, graces many of the properties throughout the town. Particularly those in the more affluent areas. Whilst Georgian styles varied, you can often separate buildings build during this period by their accurate symmetry and subtle use of materials. Architects at the time also favoured having the highest point at the centre of the building. This worked wonderfully with the grid-styled layout of windows, which was used to minimize window tax in force at the time across the country. This window tax was introduced as a tax on the more prosperous members of society during William III’s reign. It didn’t, however, stop architects at the time from using windows as an eye-grabbing element of their buildings. Sash windows, which were first developed in the 1600’s, became commonplace due to their premium appearance.

As you walk around the beautiful streets of Beaconsfield, you’ll also find that the Georgian period shaped the external appearance of many buildings too. Internal courtyards witnessed their demise during this period, as the ‘single-block’ design became popular. Later in the Georgian period semi-detached buildings grew in popularity, and many of the properties which were previously surrounded by land began to build a number of semi-detached residents alongside one another. These buildings continued the early-Georgian architecture styles of accurate symmetry and grid-styled windows.

As the 19th century came around ‘mock Tudor’ became the architecture of choice among many domestic homes. These homes would appear gothic in nature and be at the forefront of the introduction of pitched-roofs, half-timbering and mullion windows. The majority of which can be seen on homes throughout Beaconsfield and greater Buckinghamshire to this day.

At the time this form of architecture was seen as a rejection of mass production, which was growing rapidly during the 19th century. It also became a way for the richer members of society, who’s homes had started to blend in with their neighbours as Georgian architecture became common, to once again stand-out. It’s because of this that you’ll often find the mock Tudor and Georgian buildings sitting amongst each other throughout Beaconsfield.

As written above, mock Tudor buildings feature half-timbering. This would often be infilled with herringbone brickwork and a mixture of mullion and dormer windows. Some of these buildings would also feature thatched roofs, crafted from straw. However, whilst thatched roofs created a more striking architectural design, they were expensive to maintain and a fire hazard. It is because of this that you’ll only find a handful of buildings throughout Beaconsfield that maintain a thatched roof.

A wonderful example of mock Tudor architecture can be found a short distance outside of Beaconsfield, at Ascott House near Wing, Buckinghamshire. Ascott House is a Grade II listed building built during the reign of James I. The building and surrounding land was originally a farm house, but it was later acquired and turned into a country house by the Rothschild family.

The combination of Georgian and mock Tudor architecture has made Beaconsfield a keen spot for tourist, particularly those with an interest in both history and photography. The mixture of architecture and array of listed buildings has also seen a handful of businesses, each specialising in the ongoing maintenance of those buildings, flourish.

Such a business is Cherwell Windows, who specialise in the fitting of both sash and double glazed windows. Whilst their Beaconsfield showroom is located inside of a Victorian building, their Georgian and Tudor inspired windows can be seen on buildings throughout the Buckinghamshire town.

Being located just 23.6 miles from London and being surrounding by a number of Buckinghamshire’s other towns, Beaconsfield should certainly be on your activity plan should you visit the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Beyond its wonderful architecture and beautiful landscape, the town is also home to a number of boutique shops, restaurants and cafes.


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