The reign of Charles I, from 1625 to 1649, was marked by political turmoil and social change in the United Kingdom. Despite this, it was also a period of distinctive architectural developments and changes in building and construction practices.
The UK Population and Its Influence on Society
In this era, the population of the United Kingdom was growing, with many moving to the cities for economic opportunities. This urbanisation and the associated increase in population density influenced the types of dwellings being built and the way spaces were utilised.
Types of Dwellings
Urban dwellings of the time were typically timber-framed houses, often featuring wattle and daub walls. These homes were frequently built close together along narrow streets, especially in rapidly growing cities. Rural dwellings, on the other hand, were often single-story structures made from local materials like stone or cob.
The Average Dwelling and Day-to-Day Life
Urban residents often lived in multi-story dwellings with a shop or workspace on the ground floor and living quarters above. In rural areas, families lived in one-story homes with a central hearth for heating and cooking. Regardless of the location, most homes had small, leaded glass windows and thatched or tiled roofs.
Significant Building Achievements
One notable architectural achievement from this period is Banqueting House in Whitehall, London, which was designed by Inigo Jones. The structure, featuring elements of Italian and classical architecture, marked a shift from the earlier, more ornate Elizabethan style.
Changes in Society and the Influence of Construction Materials
The demand for urban housing led to the increased use of readily available materials like timber. However, the risk of fire in densely populated cities led to the introduction of building regulations, which included measures like fireplaces with chimneys for safer heat and cooking, and wider streets to prevent fires from spreading.
Economic Activity and Construction
The construction industry was an important part of the economy during this period, providing employment for a range of tradespeople, from carpenters and masons to glaziers and plasterers. The growing population and urbanisation increased demand for new homes and infrastructure, contributing to the economic activity of the era.