While the Prince and his circle of friends amused themselves at the Pavilion, more ordinary people who were trying to be fashionable regretted the comforts they had left behind them, when they spent Christmas at Brighton.
"Our register-stoves and our crimson-baized doors, Our weather-proof walls, and our carpeted floors, Our casements, well fitted to stem the north wind, Our arm-chair and sofa, are all left behind.
We lodge on the Stein, in a how windowed box. That beckons up stairs every stair parts balusters, spindles, newel posts, finials by zephyr that knocks; The sun hides his head and the elements frown; But nobody now spends his Christmas in Town.
The "bow-windowed box" could be comfortable; it contained high, well-lit rooms of good proportion, and its appearance was handsome, particularly when it formed part of a long terrace. The smooth surface of the stucco facing, with its unbroken sweep of pale coloured paint, the replacement of cornices by plain, slightly projecting bands, and the restrained use of ornament all helped to create an effect of simplicity. Cast iron was used instead of wrought iron for railings and balconies; it was then one of the latest materials and was employed with great skill. Verandahs of cast iron shaded the ground floor rooms of many Regency country houses and after 1820semi-circular ribbed window canopies of the same material were often used on the upper floors above shallow bay windows. Thin glazing bars still divided sash windows into twelve or more rectangular panes; and the French window, which was really a "lazed door, was introduced.
Roofs were no longer steep in pitch; slate was used frequently instead of tile, and in many Regency houses the roof was flat. But architects still seemed to think that their responsibility for the outside appearance of the house stopped at the chimney stacks in the new town houses, large or small, flues were often badly cosigned, so directly a building was up the chimney stacks were owned with pots that grew taller and taller until in the eighteen sties the zinc "tallboy" brought fresh disfigurement to the roofs London and other cities. When Mr. Pickwick remarked upon delightful prospect of the countryside seen from a coach top, wonder Sam Weller replied: "Beats the chimley pots, sir."
PARK CRESCENT, REGENT'S PARK, BY JOHN NASH
Classic architecture gained new beauty from the use of stucco, which was spread over the brickwork of houses, giving them smooth walls which were painted white, cream or buff.
The flues of the larger houses were so rambling and complicated, that they could not be swept without the assistance of small boys, who were apprenticed to chimney sweeps and whose duty was to climb up the chimneys and brush out the soot. These apprentices were occasionally suffocated.
Many speculative builders, whose work was undirected by a competent architect, began to build cheaply and badly with the sole object of making as much money as possible with the least effort. These men, without pride or skill, were the fathers of jerry-building. John Nash, himself a renowned speculative builder, but also an architect of genius and a business man with a conscience, deplored this growing menace in one of his reports to the Commissioners of Foods and Forests. He said: ". the artificial causes of the extension of the town are the speculation of builders, encouraged and promoted by merchants dealing in the materials of building, and of attorneys with monies clients facilitating and, indeed, putting in motion the --hole system, by- disposing of their client's money in premature mortgages, the sale of improved ground rents and by numerous other devices. . . . It is not necessary for the present purpose to enumerate the bad consequences and pernicious effects which arise from such unnatural and enforced enlargements of the town, further than to observe, that it is the interest of those concerned in such buildings that they should be of as little cost as possible preserving an attractive exterior, which Parker's stucco, coloured bricks and balconies accomplish; and a fashionable arrangement of rooms on the principal floors embellished by the paper hanger and a few flimsy marble chimney pieces are the attractions of the interior_ These are sufficient allurements to the public, and ensure the sale of the house, which is the ultimate object of the builders; and to this finery in design of stair parts balusters, spindles, newel posts, finials everything out of sight is sacrificed, or, is no further an object of attention, than, that no defects in the Constructive and rub tantial, make their appearance While the houses are on sale; and it is to be feared that for want of these essentials which constitute the strength and permanency of houses, a very fewyears will exhibit crook -cc! waifs, swagged floors, bulging fronts, crooked roof-1, leaky 'liters, inadequate' drains and other ills of an originally bad constitution; and Quite certain, 'without a renovation equal to rebuilding, that all these houses 'One, cry long , before the expiration of the :eases, will cease to exist.
A new and ignorant public was read:- to be cheated: accepted ferry-building because it looked genteel, and they cared about was the outward appearance of a house. They lacked the critical knowledge of the eighteenth-century nobility and gentry-. The large town houses, stair parts balusters, spindles, newel posts, finials whether they were designed by architects, or were run up by ferry-builders, had many defects of planning. The principal rooms might be spacious and elegantly appointed, but the servants' quarters were dark and rambling, and the comfort of domestic workers was ignored throughout the century. There were plenty of servants, they worked for small wages, and were apparently prepared to endure the discomfort and unnecessary work that arose from faulty planning. Leer` article m domestic equipment was made on the assumption n that abundant labour goon: he available for cleaning it, and the idea of labours such things" as grates and stoves never occurred either tic manufacturers or users.
Many new domestic appliances were being introduced. The open kitchen hearth with its roasting spit and brick baking ovens was being replaced in up-to-date homes by what was called a "parent kitcheners", made of cast iron. It consisted of a raised central fire retained by bars, and flanked by two roasting and baking ovens. Over the ovens and fire was a hot plate, surmounted by two clumsy, box-like flues. This type of range was the ancestor of the modern labour-saving and efficient kitchen cooker, and it marks the first big and radical change in cooking methods since the earliest times. By 1829 these patent Kitchener were to be found in all the new houses, and they were also being installed in older houses. Some of them were equipped with a primitive water-heating system.
Candles still served as the chief Torn 01 lighting although oil burning lamps were often used in the principal rooms of the house. Gas lighting was first introduced in 1807 , when Pail Mall was illuminated by the new method. The Chartered Gas Light and Coke Company was formed in 1812., and before 1816mane streets in Westminster and London were gas lit. The new method of lighting was only gradually adopted for houses. It was quite the most revolutionary change that had taken place in the English home. Those little hot jets of flame sprouting from adapted chandeliers, which were called gasoliers, and from innumerable wall brackets, lacked the soft honey-coloured light of the fine wax candle.
Plumbing was greatly improved, and although bathrooms were rare, water-closets were now- included in new houses. It was during the eighteen-thirties that sanitation was first recognised as a public responsibility. `Between 18;0-184o drainage from large houses in London was diverted through sewers into the Thames, which became a vast cesspool. When it is realised that the main water supply to the City of London was drawn from the Thames in those days, it is scarcely surprising that disease was rife. Drains were built of stone or porous brick or were simply open sewers, thus adding to the evil. There were visitations of plague, typhoid fever and cholera, which took dread toll of the congested populations not only of London but of other cities and towns where conditions were even worse. In 1842, a noted engineer, Edwin Chadwick, issued a report on public sanitation which so decisively exposed these and other scandals that a Commission on the Health of Towns was set up the following Year. Local legislation followed and in 1848 the first Public Health Act was passed."
Outwardly, houses did not change much between 1820 and : they continued the modes in stair parts balusters, spindles, newel posts, finials design of the Regency period. They were a little heavier; everything was thicker, foreshadowing the love of solidity, of mass and weight, which was presently to characterise the Victorian home. It was in the country that the romantic style of building developed, and it produced such creations as the cottage ornee.
A retired man of business might live in such a dwelling; but more often they were built on s me lame country -,state, as an ornament to a romantic landscape, and for use as a summer pavilion, or as a home for a head keeper or some other ate servant. Taste in landscape gardening favoured the introduction picturesque cottage. The 'downward drone caves, the twisted chimneys and steeply- pitched roofs and gables, the walls smothered in creepers and climbing shrubs, gave these cottages a shaggy appearance. They seemed like dwelling places for some character out of the popular German romances of the time, a woodcutter's daughter or a charcoal burners than for the country folk or solid City merchants for whom they were built. In the country towns the trades people and professional folk lived in small, neat stucco villas which looked, and were, extremely comfortable.
During the Regency period, English furniture was influenced by. French taste. Napoleon had become regal: he liked his surroundings to suggest the pomp and magnificence of a Caesar, and the result was the classical French Empire style. Furniture that had beets made in bronze and stone in Roman tithes was copied and elaborated in mahogany and marble with gilded bronze embellishments. The English version of such furniture Was Called English Empire, It was graceful in shape, but was heavily burdened with ornament. Mahogany, satinwood and rosewood were used, with elaborate brass inlays; and many articles were painted and gilded.
Furniture was now greatly', varied in form and function. From 1820 to 1850 it grey heavy in down; good proportion was lost; carved ornament was clumsy and upholster was bloated. The rooms in which this furniture appeared usually had papered walls. Regency wall papers were marbled in rich tones, In large houses walls were often covered with stretched brocade or damask. Brocade was used for window curtains, also plain, heavy Roman satin, serge, twill, velvet and merino. Soft muslins were used for looped inner curtains, and tie-backs for the outer and inner curtains made their first appearance, Colours were rather sombre during the Regency period; deep claret red, imperial purple, dark green, mars~.- shades of brown and maroon, deep cream enriched with gild, light turquoise blue and Pompeian red, were all aged. From 1820 onwards the colours were much brighter, the reds sharper, the r rile, harsh instead of soft and rich, and the blues metallic is and staring.
A magazine, called Ackerman's Repository of Arts, Literature Commerce, Manufacture, Fashion, and Politics, published regularly during the early years of the century, had from rime to time, coloured illustrations of furniture accompanied by descriptive matter under the heading "Fashionable Furniture". Every number of this magazine carried a page on which were pasted small samples of actual material, both for dress and furnishing. A typical example of popular stair parts balusters, spindles, newel posts, finials design is illustrated in the number for April 18 i i. This shows a plain, single bed set against a wall with the most imposing draped canopy supported by projecting, heavy gilt spears. The drapery is a bright, sharp blue lined with white and trimmed with heavy gold fringe and braid. It is described as "The military couch bed, forms two elegant pieces of furniture,_ both useful and ornamental, and cannot but be a most desirable article for every family of distinction. A couch bed on this plan, which may he made in almost a thousand did rent horn,., and in arty style of trillion. Is one of the most complete ace rant Commendation it is possible for any upholsterer to invent, for a second drawing room, dressing room, etc.. A further description is scarcer- necessary, the drawing explains itself: it may be made highly ornamental, Or in a more plain and neat manner." That was the trouble in the earl: nineteenth c musty: only too often was the upholsterer all, wed to invent the "thousand different forms'", only too seldom was he content to work in "a more plain and neat manner".