Georgian architecture is the name given to the set of architectural styles that were used between 1714 and 1830. It is named after the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover, namely George I, George II, George III, and George IV, who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. The great Georgian cities of the British Isles were Edinburgh, Bath, Dublin, prior to its independence and London, and to a lesser extent York and Bristol. These Georgian buildings made great use of clay roof tiles, which gave the properties a more attractive and robust roof that was able to withstand the harsh elements better than the alternatives.
The style was revived in the late 19th century in the United States as Colonial Revival architecture and in the early 20th century in Great Britain as Neo-Georgian architecture; in both it is also called Georgian Revival architecture. In the United States the term Georgian is generally used to describe all buildings from the period, regardless of style; in Britain it is generally restricted to buildings that are architectural in intention, and have stylistic characteristics that are typical of the Georgian period.
The Georgian style is extremely variable, but most well known for its symmetry and proportion based on the classical architecture of Greece and Rome, as revived in Renaissance architecture. Building ornament is also normally in the classical tradition, but often quite restrained, and sometimes almost completely missing on the exterior of the building. The Georgian period brought the style of classical architecture to smaller and more modest buildings than had been the case before, replacing the standard English architecture for almost all new middle class homes and public buildings by the end of the period. The desire to have Georgian styling and Georgian roof tiles has grown over recent years, as home buyers and builders have recognised how sought after this periods style has become.
Georgian architecture is generally characterised by its proportion and balance; simple mathematical ratios were used to determine the height of a window in relation to its width or the shape of a room as a double cube. Regularity, as with uniformly cut stonework, was strongly approved, adhering to symmetry and the recognised classical rules.The lack of symmetry, where Georgian additions were added to earlier structures remaining visible, was deeply felt as a flaw, at least before John Nash began to introduce it in a variety of styles. Regularity of housefronts along a street was a very desirable feature of Georgian town planning.
Until the start of the Gothic Revival in the early 19th century, Georgian designs usually lay within the Classical orders of architecture and employed a decorative vocabulary derived from ancient Rome or Greece.
Many modern properties make good use of Georgian design features as well as the use of Georgian roof tiles that are hung both vertically and as a traditional roof covering.
Hastings Old Town is an area in Hastings in East Sussex, which is more or less what the town was like prior to the nineteenth century. It lies mainly within the easternmost valley of the current town. The shingle beach known as The Stade, which is in fact the old Saxon term meaning landing place, is home to the biggest beach launched fishing fleet in Britain.
Many events take place every year in the old town, including Jack In The Green and the Bonfire Procession. Many of these events are centred on Winkle Island, which is also the gathering place of the Winkle Club.
This old East Sussex town has curious net shops dotted around. They are tall black wooden sheds that were built to provide a weather proof store for the fishing gear made from natural materials to prevent them from rotting in wet weather. The sheds were originally built on posts to allow the sea to go underneath, however, more shingle has built up and the sea no longer reaches the huts. The beach area on which the sheds stand built up after groynes were erected in 1834, however, the limited space meant the sheds had to grow upwards, even though some sheds do have cellars.
The East Sussex old town net shops consist of approximately fifty black wooden sheds standing in neat rows on a shingle beach are unique. Today, the materials manufactured for fishing are artificial and can be left in the open. Most net shops stand on a piece of beach that appeared suddenly after the first of the towns groynes were erected in 1834. The new beach area was small and close to the sea, so each shop could only have about eight or nine feet square to build on. But all boats had more nets than could be stored in such limited space, so the sheds had to grow upwards. Some have cellars. Many originally stood on posts to let the sea go underneath. Fishermen keep spare fishing gear in the shops. One is now a museum.
So if the history of the fishing industry is your thing, or you just like a stroll along a shingle beach, this historic part of the East Sussex coastline is well worth a visit.
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