The reign of Edward VIII in 1936 was brief, lasting less than a year, but it coincided with an interesting period in the history of British architecture and construction. It was a time of progress and transition, with modern materials and techniques beginning to be adopted more widely, though traditional building methods still prevailed.
Population and Living Conditions
The population of the United Kingdom was around 47.5 million in 1936. While urban areas were densely populated, significant proportions of the population were spread across suburban and rural areas. Life in the UK during this time was increasingly urbanised and industrialised, with a growing focus on modern conveniences and lifestyle changes.
Types of Dwelling and Construction Materials
The dominant form of dwelling in urban areas during this time was terraced houses, constructed mainly of bricks. Semi-detached houses and flats were also common, especially in suburban areas. The bricks used for construction were primarily made of local clay, fired in kilns. The bricks varied in color and texture, from red to yellow and blue, depending on the clay used and the firing process.
Technological innovations in the 1930s introduced the use of concrete and steel in construction, particularly in the creation of large-scale structures. Despite these advancements, bricks remained a popular choice for housing due to their durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal.
Notable Buildings Constructed
1936 saw the construction of several significant buildings, albeit not all in the traditional brick construction. The most notable among these is the BBC Broadcasting House in London. While the structure is primarily constructed of Portland stone, bricks were used in the internal structures and basements.
Notable Engineering Achievements
Edward VIII's reign did not coincide with notable engineering figures comparable to the likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel or Sir Christopher Wren. However, it was a time of significant progress in civil and structural engineering with advancements in the use of steel and concrete structures.
The 1930s, despite the economic depression, saw a boom in house building, with over 4 million homes built during the decade. The style of houses built during this time was greatly influenced by the Art Deco movement, and many buildings from this era feature characteristic geometric shapes and patterns, often rendered in brickwork.