The period of Oliver Cromwell's rule, also known as the Interregnum, was marked by political upheaval and civil unrest in the United Kingdom. Despite the turbulent times, building and construction did not come to a halt, but rather adapted to the new societal structures and economic realities.
The UK Population and Its Influence on Society
The population of the UK during this time was largely rural, with the majority of people living in small villages or isolated farmsteads. However, urban areas were growing, and with this growth came changes in societal structures, including a rising middle class.
Types of Dwellings
The types of dwellings constructed during this period varied depending on wealth and location. The wealthy often lived in large manor houses or townhouses, while the middle class lived in smaller but still substantial brick or timber houses. The poor often lived in small, cramped houses or apartments.
The Average Dwelling and Day-to-Day Life
The average person likely lived in a small timber or brick house, with a single room serving multiple purposes. Day-to-day life was influenced by the political and religious changes of the time, with many people living in a state of uncertainty and upheaval.
Significant Building Achievements
During this period, many churches and public buildings were either destroyed or repurposed as a result of the English Civil War and the Puritanical views of the government. However, domestic architecture saw some development, with the increasing popularity of the 'Dutch style', characterized by brick construction and classical detailing.
Changes in Society and the Influence of Construction Materials
Changes in society were reflected in the types of construction materials used. Brick and timber remained popular, but there was also an increase in the use of stone, particularly for buildings of importance or in areas where it was readily available.
Economic Activity and Construction
Despite the political upheaval, construction continued to play an important role in the economy. The rebuilding efforts after the Civil War and the ongoing growth of urban areas provided work for many people in the building trades.