20 October 2017

Our homes are our castles: British houses from the 15th century to the present day

By Anna Wexler
Download resources:

Image bank (2.8Mg Powerpoint file)
Teachers notes (38k Word file)

This resource consists of 23 images of different British houses from Tudor times to the present day. It includes examples of Tudor, Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian, Art Deco and modern building styles, as well as different types of houses such as cottages, detached houses, semi-detached houses, bungalows, blocks of flats and terraced houses. The accompanying teachers’ notes provide brief background information on the key architectural styles as well as links to further examples.

The resource can be used in many different ways and is applicable to all ages. For example, younger children could compare different building styles, and then using their local area they could identify examples of different types of housing, and use this as a starting point to consider their area’s history. Older students could consider the way that architectural styles link to the economic and sociological development of places.

You may also find information and resources developed by the Building Exploratory useful when preparing lessons on this subject. Don’t miss the game accessed from the bottom tool bar on this page which will help your pupils revise all they’ve learnt about changing housing styles.

Tall house with narrow base and wide rooms perched at top.
Stuart Ogilvie's 'The House In The Clouds' built to conceal a water tower, Thorpeness, Suffolk. Copyright Justin Kase zfourz / Alamy

Teaching activities

English – key stages 1-4 (speaking and listening, writing)

Houses have personalities! Pupils should pick an image from the resource bank and imagine the character of the home shown in the picture. This work could be developed into a short monologue or play where the house or flat speaks its mind. What is it especially proud of? What has it seen and experienced? What does it think of the different people who have taken advantage of its excellent facilities? What changes have been forced on it – or accepted gratefully? Older students could be encouraged to alter the style of speech to reflect the age and origins of the house and its building materials.

History – key stages 2-3

Changes in styles of architecture are influenced by changes in society. Pupils could choose a building style and research what societal changes precipitated design choices. For example, they could consider how developments in transport and manufacturing influenced the choice of materials; how architecture is influenced by fashions in art; and what architecture can tell us about the make-up and power of certain groups in society.

Science – key stages 3-4

Recent buildings are constructed to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. Students could research the environmental positives and negatives of different building materials and consider the environmental ‘scores’ of particular building styles. For example, concrete is a very energy-hungry material, glass is a poor insulator – and so on.

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