Image credit: Jodie Marks

Image Credit: Jodie Marks 


In order to chart the development of the terraced house over the decades, a sample geographical area containing clusters of all types of terraced houses was required. 

Bristol was chosen as the case-study city due to its broad spectrum of housing typologies and the fact that it is representative of many other cities across the country.  Due to its coastal location Bristol had a key trade role in the early nineteenth century as part of the ‘slave triangle’ route.  In the later nineteenth and twentieth century Bristol still had a well-established manufacturing industry which led to the expansion of Bristol and its suburbs.  As a result it presents an excellent historical example of the different types of terraced houses that have been built in the UK since 180014.

The project concentrates on terraced houses since they account for 28% of the UK housing stock and more importantly 44% of dwellings in the most deprived areas of the UK9.  Terraced houses are historically linked with English working class culture and are still a popular and affordable choice for the lower and middle classes10,11,12 This typology is also very much associated with the beginnings of large suburban speculative developments13 and its origins can be traced back to the Great Fire of London in 1666 when the first mass-built housing occurred.

The research focused on 2, 3 and 4 bedroom terraced houses in the United Kingdom, representing the small, medium and large size dwellings respectively, constructed from 1800 to present.

A literature review was carried out to identify the social, economic, technological and political factors that have influenced housing design over the last 100 years. 

These were then illustrated as a series of fascinating graphical timelines (link to timelines section) by  grouping factors these into key themes (Economics and industrialisation; Health; Legislation and policy; Society; and Lifestyles and technology) and mapping these against the physical changes to the domestic space of the terraced houses.

The graphical representation of these factors facilitated an analysis of these timelines identified critical influences on housing design over the past 100 years. This has shaped the key findings and theoretical concepts about the relationship between the home and lifestyle, and storage and stuff.

In parallel, a historic data collection desk study identified estate agents plans, developers’ websites and planning applications in Bristol to develop a ‘generic’ series of terrace houses plans. Scale physical models were developed from these identified typologies and a graphical narrative of the historical changes to specific housing typologies was elucidated.