The reign of Queen Anne from 1702 to 1714 was a pivotal time in the architectural history of the United Kingdom. During this era, the country witnessed a significant shift in the style of buildings, with the baroque style becoming increasingly popular. The era also saw a rise in the population and a shift in societal structures.
The UK Population and Its Influence on Society
The UK's population during the Queen Anne era was experiencing steady growth. The rising population led to an increased demand for housing, particularly in urban areas. This urbanisation brought significant changes to societal structures, as people sought economic opportunities in cities rather than rural areas.
Types of Dwellings
Queen Anne architecture was characterized by an emphasis on elegance and symmetry. Many homes of this era featured red brick construction, sash windows, steep roofs, and ornate, classical details. However, for the average person, their dwelling was likely to be a small, simple house constructed from timber or brick.
The Average Dwelling and Day-to-Day Life
The average person would have lived in a small dwelling, with a workspace on the ground floor and living spaces above. Life in this era was difficult, with many people working long hours in physically demanding jobs. However, even within these constraints, there was a growing emphasis on comfort and domesticity within the home.
Significant Building Achievements
One of the most significant architectural achievements of this era was the completion of St Paul's Cathedral in London, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. With its stunning dome and intricate detailing, it remains one of the most iconic buildings of the UK.
Changes in Society and the Influence of Construction Materials
The changes in society brought about by urbanisation were reflected in the types of construction materials used. Brick became the material of choice for many buildings due to its durability and fire-resistant qualities. This represented a shift away from the timber-framed houses of the previous era.
Economic Activity and Construction
The building and construction industry played a crucial role in the economy during Queen Anne's reign. The growing demand for housing and infrastructure drove economic activity, providing employment for a wide range of workers including masons, carpenters, and plasterers.