The Victorians perfected the art of sash windows

The Victorians perfected the art of sash windows. Sash windows have been around a lot longer than the Victorian times but they really made sash windows (in London in particular) and the UK stand out. The sash windows that they created were elegant, slender, and extremely sophisticated by design, this in itself is an art form. They really upped the standards and in this article we are going to go through all of the different things that the Victorians did to make sash windows really stand out in a period property. We’re going to start with the hardware that they installed on sash windows. Then we’re going to go all the way through to the weighting counterbalance mechanism that they used and how they would carry out repairs and servicing of their sash windows. They really made sash windows into an art form that’s been forgotten.

Sash window furniture in Victorian times

The Victorians were amazing, when it came to the sash windows they really made the hardware an art form. They invented the style of lock called the Beehive catch/fastener. This beehive catch has an arm that swings across and secures the sashes. They actually did quite a good job of dragging the meeting rails together because the beehive keep had a slight curve which effectively dragged the sash rails together. This reduced any gaps in between and helped to cut the sash window draughts out as well as make them more secure.

Image credit :

Image credit :

They also invented beautiful finger plates for lifting the lower sash. These finger plates were rebated into the lower sash and known as recessed sash lifts. Here’s a picture of those beautiful sash lifts, and they’re not really installed that often today because tradesman nearly need one hour to actually make this install. That makes the install extremely expensive and extremely rare.

How sash windows were serviced and repaired by the Victorians.

Sash windows are built in such a way that servicing is extremely easy. They can be removed by almost any housekeep, that is if you spend a little while looking at the actual mechanism and perhaps reading an article or two on repair and servicing. They were designed this way so that you could do all of the work yourself, without paying a tradesman which is costly. This made a sash window extremely practical in the Victorian era. If you consider the London has for example literally millions of sash windows, then you’ll understand the need for a homeowner to be able to service their windows 130 years ago, they simply couldn’t afford to go out and get a tradesman to do this simple task. It’s the kind of job that your handyman would be able to accomplish quite comfortably.

Sash window

Sash windows are simply taken apart, and then new sash cords attached to the weights. Once this was done they would give them such as a lick of paint, with lead paint might I add..which is protected the sash extremely well and this lead paint still exists today which is obviously poisonous and we need to be careful with it, but I highly would recommend just leaving it there because it’s doing a brilliant job of protecting your sash windows.

With the new weight attached, you only need to put the window back on its sash cords. If you need an article that will give you the info in depth for replacing sash cords then I would take a look on the internet there’s loads of brilliant sash window companies that can do that for you.

Sash window glazing bars made an art form by the Victorians.

Sash windows were really stepped up in the 1900’s and just slightly before, they started introducing extremely intricate Georgian glazing bars that looked amazing. There was actually need for these glazing bars because large sheets of glass are extremely expensive, and where glass was produced extremely thin, such as 2.5 to 3 mm thick, large sheets were not secure enough. By having loads of glazing bars break up these large panes of glass, you would create a situation where the sashe’s themselves were structurally strong even with relatively slender glass. The amazing thing about this glass back then was its handmade, so there’s lots of imperfections in it. You can tell the difference now where we machine make our glass and it’s bedded down on molten zinc, it’s just simply perfect which is nice but the old Victorian glass that was handmade just felt like such an art form compared to what we doing these days.

Wooden Double Glazed Windows

Wooden Double Glazed Windows

To conclude sash windows in the Victorian times as an art form you can see that they really did make some changes to the sash windows that were extremely effective and they did a great job of really making this the features of a sash window stand out. They did this through beautiful use of glazing bars and slender profiles of sash. It allowed amazing light spaces in properties, especially around Central London where you can see some of the most unbelievable examples of sash windows. These windows simply couldn’t be made today in the same way because of the sheer cost, homeowners just simply can’t afford them in general and this is why we must work hard to protect our Victorian sash windows that were an absolute art form.

The best things about Victorian property construction and design

Victorian properties were constructed by master craftsmen and there was a boom in that era. So many properties were built and as a result the quality was extremely high as so many people were being trained at the time. in this article going to look at some of the most amazing techniques employed by the Victorians to build these beautiful properties. We’re going to start with the brickwork, the beautiful Yellow Bricks that make properties in London look amazing for example. With them going to go right the way through to the plumbing, and even the hot water system that they began to incorporate towards the end of the year. And where would traditional Victorian properties in London be without the beautiful sash windows as well. So there’s a say we’ll go through all of those.

Beautiful yellow stock bricks

London homes with made for the most amazing yellow stock bricks. It’s hard to fully understand how beautiful these bricks were and occasionally you see the odd property that risks cleaning them. It doesn’t matter where they have them cleaned manually or they use a chemical to remove the dirt. The most amazing thing about these bricks is the vibrant yellow colour; it makes a real building almost come to life. Nowadays these bricks are extremely expensive and very sought after. One brick alone could set you back nearly £1. Just imagine how many bricks you need to build a quality home…

Beautiful cornice on the Ceiling.

Cornice work is a Dying trade just out of the fuel cost. These beautiful and ornate patterns that were rendered and plastered into the ceilings can no longer be here for did in typical properties. The Victorians were extremely fortunate in the Labour was considerably less of a cost overall per household. This meant the some of the most amazing work was able to be constructed and take place. The beautiful corners on ceilings is the perfect example where by a tradesman weren’t rushed because the cost of living was so much lower and therefore wages reflected that. It gave the average tradesman plenty of time to make stunning examples. If I were to say there was one thing in every Tory property that looks amazing I definitely think it would be the Victorian cornice.

Amazing sash windows constructed in the Victorian period.

Victorians were fortunate enough to have sash windows but amazingly they came before the Victorian times. It was just that the Victorians perfected the art and may beautiful sliding sash windows. Slightly after the Victorian times came the Georgian Glazing bars which were built mainly to reduce the cost of glazing. didn’t these amazing sash windows haven’t been improved on today and we still use traditional sash cord with white metal counterbalance to keep the windows from falling. It’s a model that they simply haven’t been approved on then there really hasn’t been much in the way of development. There are modern spiral balances but fortunately there far inferior and don’t last as long. glazing come a long way with double and triple, but the actual mechanism itself really was built brilliantly the first time.

Central heating for a Victorian period property.

Victorians came up with the idea of installing a water boiler directly above the furnace in the lounge. This meant as the heat rose it heated up the water and gave birth to the first baths in the typical Victorian property. Once upon a time it was required that many servants would carry buckets of water for a comfortable bath. This began the revolution of bathing in comfort..

As you can see the Victorians had brilliant building techniques and many of them still implemented today just with a little bit more of it technology attached to it. It’s going to be very interesting to see where our building techniques are in 100 years time from now. They might look back and see that this was a forgotten era.

Your Historic Home’s Interior Design Secrets: Rich Victorian, Classic Arts & Crafts Or Mid-Century Modern Revealed

Wild Wallcoverings, Barley Paper And Groovy Paint Mixes

To find out what the original paint or wallpaper may have been, try gently prying off the wood moulding forming the crown or cove moulding or under window sills. If there are small pieces of wallpaper or paint chips, either leave them or put them into a non-acidic scrapbook which can also include remodelling pictures and other records from the house’s evolution. Photographs showing where the remnants were found can be used to show how different designs originally meshed together, especially in homes with Victorian or similarly complicated styles with several different patterns.

victorian wallpaper

victorian wallpaper

If the room has layers of wallpaper, gentle lifting up or scratching away some of the paper and paint can determine the original paper or base coat. Spraying Downy with water and a good scoring pad can remove thick layers of wallpaper when the old glue stubbornly clings to the wall.

Finding The Floor Under Linoleum And Shag Carpet

For flooring, years of glued, tacked, stapled and nailed linoleum, carpeting, and sub-flooring can make detection efforts a little more labor-intensive. Carefully prying up the layers in a closet, under the refrigerator or under baseboards to gives a better idea of the room’s good, bad and, sometimes, the ugly.


What to Do When You’ve Uncovered Just What You Wanted

Thanks to a resurgence of interest in Victorian, Arts and Crafts (also known as Mission or Craftsman), and mid-century Modern, it’s easier than ever to recreate a room similar to its original look.

Fans of Queen Anne, Italianate, and some Four-squares will want to check out the lush, energetic patters and deep colours found in the period’s papers and paint accents. Bungalows and other Four-Squares sport rich wood accents when accompanied by angular Arts and Crafts (Mission) or voluptuous Art Nouveau paper and mid-tone paint.

Victorian And Arts & Crafts Resources

To find similar patterns to the ageing fragments, there are several great resources. Bradbury & Bradbury offers hand-printed Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Atomic Age wallpaper and textiles. Mason & Wolf has plenty of late Victorian and Arts and Crafts designs while Charles Rupert Designs includes intricate Victorian, William Morris and Arts and Crafts selections. Less-expensive Seabrook offer Georgian, Asian-inspired, Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau wallpapers and there are many other sources for Victorian and mid-century styles at many different price points.

Victorian Home Interior - Bedroom in Classic Style

Victorian Home Interior – Bedroom in Classic Style

1950s And 1960s Make Nostalgic Return

Although the 1950s and 1960s may seem like just yesterday, ranch house owners can evoke a fun palette for their period or contemporary furniture by using wallpaper designs by Shand Kydd and Sanitas with shades of golds, greens, blues and oranges.


For flooring, there are many companies offering turn of the 19th century tile patterns and even linoleum. Wood reclamation and architectural salvage businesses have great supplies of antique barn and house wooden floorings for those eager to enjoy a lovely, warm-toned wooden floor.

wooden floor

Wooden Floor

Victorian Home Interior

Victorian Home Interior

Discounts And Inexpensive Resources

Many paint and hardware stores have paint collections based on different periods and the stores often give discounts to members of state and national historic preservation groups. For an initial membership fee between £15 to £50, savings on wallpaper and paint can be immense with a 10% or 15% discount.

Historic preservation groups can also provide great recommendations (not requirements) and other resources such as Old House Journal, which documents restorations and details the context of the house styles mentioned here. These resources can also give ideas as to whether the woodwork was always painted or instead varnished, how a room was used by the first occupants, and how to fit period details into modern amenities in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms when desired.



Great Renovation Stories

In some cases, uncovered lovely murals or unique period wallpaper may offer exciting possibilities to a happy homeowner. Even if the original design scheme doesn’t work for the current homeowner, it’s okay to add another layer of personality to create a wonderfully personal home with great stories throughout the decades.