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Edwardian (1890 - 1916)

Origins --- --- Edwardian Architecture

Edwardian in Britain------Cardiff___London

Edwardian High Style--- King Edward Hotel in Toronto---

Edwardian Classicism in Public Buildings--- Toronto Power Station--- ThunderBay--- Galt-

Herkimer Apartments --- Facade--- Herkimer Ceramic Doorway--- -Herkimer Window Surround-

Edwardian Residential ----- Flavell House - ---- Hamilton- --- Toronto Apartment --- Burlington---- Ottawa

Edwardian Speculative Housing and Cottages--- St. Catherines--- Sault St Marie---

Edwardian Arts and Crafts-------- Toronto- - ---- Hamilton----- - Hamilton---

Edwardian - In Memoriam---- Quinte Hotel Belleville- -

Origins

Not every monarch is honoured by an architectural style. In the case of Georgian architecture, the style was so obviously different than any of it's predecessors, and lasted for such a long time - almost 100 years - that not to name it after the kings would have been simply churlish. In the case of the many Victorian styles, they are linked by a similar appreciation for ornament and opulence. When you think of Victorian, you think of lace transferred into wood, cresting, twiddly bits and swirls everywhere. All styles are united in their love of ornament, like the women's dresses.

The Edwardian period was much like the Regency, as pointed out by J.B. Priestly in his two excellent books on the subject. They were extraordinary periods which lasted, in both cases, little more than a decade, but are remarkable in their brilliance and beauty as much as their vibrance. The changes in the arts during both periods were extreme, as were the changes in the social and politcal life of the times. Both periods had exhuberant monarchs who lived life to the fullest and enjoyed every minute of their reigns.

The Edwardian period is associated with the reign of Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, who reigned between 1901 and 1910. By the last decade of the 19th century, when Victoria was in decline and the era was waning, the changes in the arts were so remarkable, that what was to become known as 'Edwardian' was in full flower by 1897. The period lasted until the end of the First World War. Edward's successor, his son George V, was much too busy, and frankly shell shocked, like the rest of the world, to concentrate on anything other than a peaceful end to the most horific four years in history.

The Edwardian style is a precursor to the simplified styles of the 20th century. Many of the Classical features - colonettes, voussoirs, keystones, etc. - are part of this style, but they are applied sparingly and with guarded understatement. Finials and cresting are absent. Cornice brackets and braces are block-like and openings are fitted with flat arches or plain stone lintels.

By 1900, most architecture was reflecting a revival of some sort from pre-Victorian times, (see Period Revivals, Colonial Revival, Classical Revival, Gothic Revival). Edwardian Classicism provided simple, balanced designs, straight rooflines, un-complicated ornament, and relatively maintenance-free detailing.

Edwardian Architecture

Edwardian architecture can be split into a few main categories. First there is the Edwardian Classicism which evolved from the Beaux Arts, and often overlapped with the Beaux Arts style. It was extravagant and powerful, perfect for public buildings as well as for new types of buildings that arose in response to the changing social climate of the time. Train stations, libraries and police stations were often built in the high style of Edwardian Classicism, as were commercial buildings and factories. The new electrical power stations in Niagara Falls were also in this overblown classical style.

Apartment buildings outfitted with plumbing and electricity were a new feature of the Edwardian Age. These buildings were a source of great anxiety to the upper middle classes, as is illustrated so well in Forester's Howards' End, but were the height of fashion and practical living for the newly emerging middle classes.

Most residential Edwardian architecture has not yet been rediscovered in Ontario. There is so much of it, and the styles vary so widely that often people take Edwardian residences for granted. The architect or 'designer built' houses are beautiful designs with modern conveniences but a rural cosiness that is lacking in 21st century homes. The exteriors are rather unassuming and humble compared to the extravagant styles of the late Victorian era. The interiors are where all the elegant paintings, fine tilework, stained glass and ornament inspired both by Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts can be found.

Houses built 'on spec' in new suburbs or expanded city streets often have these types of details, though not in so much abundance. The Edwardian suburban house is characterized by a gable front, three or four bedrooms upstairs, and a generous front porch. These buildings generally have a smooth brick surface and many windows. The windows would have stone sills, the porch would be white painted wood with clustered columns.

Compared to the Victorian, the Edwardian style was less weighted down with saths of velvet and moire and more decked out with trellises, built-in furniture and cheery patterns. It was happier, less concerned with pomp and protocol, and filled with light. The light came from the new source of energy, electricity, as well as from the removal of the heavy draperies on both doors and windows in Victorian times.

Edwardian in Britain

---------------------------Edward

J.B. Priestly points out that Edward VII was the most popular king since 1660 when Charles II was brought back to the throne. Edward had lived most of his life as the underused son of the powerful queen. He was over protected as a child, constantly supervised by a series of tutors and guardians. His mother wanted him to be the exact image of Albert, and insisted on a strict diet of languages, latin, music, and book reading for most of his childhood. As a result, when Edward reached the age of majority, he was like a colt escaping for a restrictive stable, and he spent the next 40 years 'overdoing it'. He had a taste for good wine, good food, pretty women and gambling. With adequate money at his disposal and far too much free time, Edward spent the years of his twenties and thirtiesjumping from one scandal to the next. He was seen in many popular drinking and gaming houses, and, not surprisingly, became a favorite of the working classes who saw him as one of their own. After her husband Albert's death in 1861, Queen Victoria became reclusive, avoiding London and public appearances. Sombody had to represent the Crown, so the Prince of Wales, later to be King Edward VII, rose to the occassion. In all of his appearances he was an impressive consort, and he was well known when he took the throne in 1901.

 

The Edwardian style in Britain owes much to the personality of Edward. He was fun loving and exhuberant. He was lucky to reign over a period when England lived in a sort-of golden age. Technology was making every day living easier. England was still the ruling empire of the world. And even the philosophers and reactionaries lived in a kind of 'naive socialism', thinking that the ideas of social equality and perhaps communism might just work. The musician who's work best exemplifies the age would be Elgar. Up until the his symphonies and concertos provided perfect background music for the age.

The golden age was, of course, only for the upper classes. In the society as a whole, 16% of the population lived 'in service'. The Salvation Army was a large and necessary part of the social fabric and soup kitchens could be found in every town and village, and in every neighbourhood except the elite in cities. In politics, the Labour party were gaining strength and the introduction of an Old Age Pension had all political parties in an uproar for at least a few years. Add to that the Suffragettes, the Boer sympathizers who reacted against the official policies concerning the Boer war, and the replacement of horse drawn carriages with motor cars, and the decade was one of extremes.

In architecture, Edwardian Classicism was the style for large buildings, a golden age of architect built houses was celebrated throughout the world, and the new row houses for the working class began to pop up all over the towns and cities, providing descent housing for a large number of workers as well as the background for that very popular series 'Corontation Street'.

Click Hotpoints for descriptions of terms in both text and images.

Cardiff

City hall in Cardiff is one of the finest civic buildings constructed during the Edwardian period and has the brilliant proportions and elegant interiors of the age. The architects Lanchester, Stewart and Rickards, had no size restrictions and thus were able to produce a full dome on the main entrance simply frothing with carved mythological creatures, opening up onto a very organized and useful overall plan.

For those interested in the classical styles, this is an example of High Edwardian Baroque in the most opulent form. It is clearly an evolved version of the Beaux Arts/ Baroque Revival styles with the monochromatic facades filled with carvings and ornament. The west tower is protected by a arge Welsh dragon.

Georgian House 12 over 12 Sash Windows Chimney Sash Window Dormer Pediment

Cardiff

Suburban Bow Window

The middle classes were coming into their own during this period. Voysey's design for Broadleys in Windermere had a series of two storey bow windows. Within a few years this window style had made it to the many small suburbs around London. here is a bow window with Queen Anne Revival style shingles against a red brick wall.

Georgian Twickenham,

London England

Edwardian High Style

By the turn of the c

 

King Edward Hotel Toronto

Of course the best place to start a diiscussion of Edwardian architecture is with the sumptuous and elegant King Edward Hotel in Toronto. The Hotel was granted its name by the King himself, and opened two years after King Edward's coronation in 1903. It was designed by the Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb and Toronto architect E.J. Lennox.

Dr. Sally Gibson has prepared a full illustrated history of the hotel

 

Edwardian House Ottawa

www.kingedward.ca/flash/assets/pdfs/king_edward_an_illustrated_history.pdf

Edwardian Classicism in Public Buildings and Factories

By the first decade of the 2oth century, the main structural element of both public buildings and factories was steel. The buildings were three to ten stories high, the frame was steel, there were many windows on the exterior, and the main focus of the style was on the front door.

 

The facades of most of these buildings are brick. The window and door details are stone. The most popular element was the banded window in the Gibbs style. Gibbs Surrounds can be found on doors and windows complete with oversized key stones.

Toronto

The side view of this building shows that it has exaggerated Gibbs Surrounds. This, again, is a nod to the Baroque revival style popular in England during the Edwardian period.

 

Edwardian House Ottawa

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

From this view you can see that the design of the building is reminiscent of Italian Palazzo design. The ground floor is of a different material from the above floors, and the building is capped with a large cornice.

The Edwardian influence is easily recognizable. The second floor has oversized keystones. The first and third floor windows have colonettes with heavy bands. On the lower floor, there is a three-part window with an architrave. The front entrance is on a corner. It is flanked by two columns and topped with a balustraded balcony.

Edwardian Bank Cornice Entablature Keystone Keystone Colonette Balcony

Toronto

Toronto

Like many Edwardian buildings, this factory on King Street has an imaginative frontispiece and exaggerated lintels on an unremarkable rectangular brick building.

The piers of the frontispiece are highlighted by heavy stone bands that encompass the Ionic columns. Above this is a lunette with banded voussoirs, an inflated keystone and a Baroque- inspired segmental curved pediment with stone dentil blocks. The pediment is supported by weighty but not ornate brackets.

Rather than a profusion of Classical details as in the Beaux Arts Classicism, Edwardian buildings have one or two concentrated Classical motifs. The stone portico or frontispiece with heavy horizontal banding on a dark building is a standard feature.

 

Georgian House Gable MacCaulay House Door Shutters Fanlight Gable Voussoirs Shutters Fanlight

Toronto

Thunder Bay

Here is another extravagant and imaginative frontispiece, this time on a CN Rail building. The niche effect of the semi-dome is found on many public Renaissance and Baroque buildings in Europe. The central cartouche is also a standard feature above doors, in Renaissance Château design particularly, and the plaque with guttae is a nice detail. The agraffe below the cartouche is also key to this style.

Within the doorway there is a clock surrounded by a metal grille and metal molding. The door beneath it is new, but is contextual.

The rest of the building is largely a smooth brick surface with minimal detailing around the windows.

 

Georgian House Gable Voussoirs Shutters Fanlight

Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay

Also in Thunder bay, and not too far down the street, is the Thunder bay museum housed in the Fort William police station and court house. It was designed by Robert Mason and was erected in 1910. The building has three stories, the top story being above a large cornice in the manner of the triumphal arches. There is a huge entablature topped with ta 'broken' Florentine pediment.The pediment is situated in what was known as the attic story of the triumphal arch.

The two oversized columns forming the porch of the front door, known as the 'Giant Order" because they span two floors, are also a Baroque element, being used first in the courtyard outside St. Peter's in Rome, designed by Michelangelo when he was just entering his Baroque phase.

This building is a classic example of the Edwardian Classicism, an offshoot of the BAroque Revival used in many civic and commercial buildings in England during the Edwardian period.

The building houses an active and vital Historic Society.

 

Georgian House

Thunder Bay Ontario

Galt

The Galt Public Library was built with a $20,000.00 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation in 1903. It was designed by

 

Like many Carnegie funded libraries it is close in style to the Beaux Arts which evolved in the first decade of the century into Edwardian Classicism.

 

Like the Fort William Police Station, it has a 'giant order' of columns. Here the columns are topped by a beautiful entablature and pediment.

 

Georgian House

Galt Ontario

Galt

The door surround has many classical elements. In fact it has far too many classical elements to be considered strictly 'Classical"

The cornice over the door has a central acroterion as well as two acroterions on the corners. This would conform to the greek use of acroterions. The four extra acroterions put it over the line into the baroque format.

Note as well the scroll consoles on either side of the door. These are similar in style to those used by Christopher Wren on St. Paul's in London. Part of the Baroque evival style popular during the reign of Edward VII used Renaissance elements in conjunction with the norther version of the Baroque employed by Wren. In fact, there was so much of this influence that the style was popularly known as the Wrenaissance Revival.

Note that the library was constructed in 1903, the same era as the King Edward Hotel in Toronto.

 

Georgian House

Galt Ontario

Galt

Here is a detail of the pediment of the library. It is adorned with three lovely acroterions. Within the tympanum we find, not the heroic stories found in the Greek tympanae, but a Renaissance wreath surrounding an open library book.

 

Georgian House

Galt Ontario

Library - Sault St Marie

This was formerly the Sault St. Marie Registry office. It is currently used as a law library.

Built in 1907- 1908, this library has exaggerated quoins and a large lintel with an exaggerated jack arch and prominent keystone.

 

Georgian House

Galt Ontario

Sault St Marie

The window surround is typically Edwardian.

 

Georgian House

Galt Ontario

Herkimer Apartments

The apartment building is one of the huge developments of the Edwardian period. AS people moved to the cities, one way to rise on the social laddfer was through advancement in business. Suddenly the cities were crawling with clerks. (This is well described in Howard's End). Clerks and their managers needed a nice living space not far from the office. Thus three and four storey apartments

were built to accomodate this latest phase of employees.

Hamilton

Hamilton

Georgian Stone House

Hamilton Ontario

Hamilton - Herkimer Apartments

The front entrance is welcoming and quietly dignified.

Georgian House

Hamilton

Ceramic Doorway

The doorway to the apartment block is made entirely of ceramic tile. Each piece was molded and painted, then fired and finally assembled on the building. It looks as fresh and lovely as the first week it was built. One can only wonder why more ceramic tile is not used.

Georgian House Gable Voussoirs Shutters Fanlight Gable Voussoirs Shutters Fanlight

Hamilton

Hamilton

The entablature is crowned by an attic storey with the name of the apartment and then a crested cartouche.

Georgian House Gable Voussoirs Shutters Fanlight

Hamilton

Ceramic columns

MacCaulay House Door Gable Voussoirs Shutters Fanlight

Burritts Rapids Ontario

Hamilton - Window Surround

MacCaulay House Door Gable Voussoirs Shutters Fanlight

Hamilton

 

Edwardian Residences

All along the oast of Lake Ontario small communities were popping up. The escarpment provided a good source of stone and relatively easy access to a major waterway provided glass and other building materials from England and later from the United States. Field stone and quarried limestone are both used on the Georgian buildings in this area.

 

Flavell House Toronto

This

Georgian House

Toronto Ontario

Gable - Toronto

This side gable is extraordinary. Within the broken pediment on the gable is an ornately carved window surround containing a ribbon with the date.

The gable end contains a round headed arched window atop a French door. This is flanked by four engaged ionic pilasters. An iron balconette is added for safety.

Georgian House

Flavell House Toronto Ontario

Edwardian Mantel - Toronto

This house is gorgeous any time of year but really spectacular in autumn.

 

A five bay Georgian with traditional shutters and door, the windows were replaced later in the 19th century.

Georgian House

Flavell House Ontario

French Door - Toronto

French doors were carried over in elegant houses from the Renaissance through the Baroque, into the Regency period and up to the Edwardian.

Georgian House

Flavell House Toronto Ontario

Frescoe - Toronto

The Edwardian era had Art Deco influences mixed with Arts and Crafts.

Georgian House

Toronto Ontario

Wood Panel - Toronto

The sitting room is paneled throughout. The ceiling has Arts and Crafts frescoes. The mantel is probably the best Edwardian mantel in the country.

Georgian House

Flavell House Toronto Ontario

Door Hamilton

This door has a variation on the columns and entablature. The triglyphs and guttae are in place without the metopes. Above the cornice on the entablature is the 'attic story'. This contains some heraldic feathers and a crest with the date: 1908.

Georgian House

Hamilton Ontario

Door Hamilton

This door surround has an exaggerated keystone.

Georgian House

Hamilton Ontario

Apartment Building Toronto

This is a typically Edwardian building with Gibbs surrounds on both the door and the upper window. The front entrance is spectacular and the remainder of the building is nicely proportioned.

Georgian House

Toronto Ontario

Burlington

Georgian Door Toronto

Georgian House

Burlington Ontario

Ottawa

Edwardian Classicism was popular in housing in Ontario well into the 1930s. This house on Monkland St. in Ottawa is an example of concentrated Classical elements applied to a basically rectangular brick building. The front portico is an extended barrel vault held in place by modified Doric columns, a plain architrave and an exaggerated cornice with heavy dentil blocks. The barrel vault on the front takes the shape of a Florentine pediment, the lower cornice of which is broken in the Baroque manner.

The window surrounds are large but not ornate. The owners have taken the trouble to keep the original windows and have storm windows added and removed annually to protect the original design. The roof is supported by a soffit with heavy dentil blocks held in place by paired roof brackets.

 

Edwardian Residence Barrel Vault Soffit Window Surround Bracket Cornice Doric Dormer

Ottawa Ontario

Toronto Fireplace

Edwardian Fireplace in Toronto. This is a classic Edwardian design for a fireplace mantel.

Georgian House

Toronto Ontario

Edwardian Speculative Housing and Cottages

These are the homes that yo have often passed by and never thought about. They are the ones pictured in Coronation Street.

 

Saint Catharines

Modest residences like this one in St. Catharines show their Edwardian influence largely on the front entrances.

Here we see a veranda that spans the whole front façade with a pediment over the staircase. The porch is supported by gently tapered smooth columns supporting ornate Ionic capitals and stylized abacuses. Above the columns, a plain architrave supports the porch. Under the soffit of the roof, a similar plain frieze board echoes this architrave.

Edwardian House

St. Catherines

Sault St Marie

This house is Sault St. Marie is rather grand and very large with the strings of windows seen in Voysey's work.

Georgian House in Niagara

Sault St Marie

Sault St Marie

Here is another good example of a simple Edwardian house.

Georgian House in Niagara

Sault St Marie

Brantford

Edwardian middle class homes were constructed in the first decade of the last century between the large Victorian homes on huge garden lots in the middle of town. AS the owners sold off land to keep up their life style, these charming Edwardian homes became more prevalent.

 

This Edwardina home runs under the heading of what Alastair Sevice quite rightly called Edwardian free style.

Georgian House in Niagara

Details from Niagara-on-the-Lake

 

Edwardian Arts and Crafts

The

The

Toronto

Edwardian residences are often best appreciated from the inside. This is a nice house, on a nice street, but the exterior gives no clue as to the treasures on the inside.

 

Georgian House

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

This is

Georgian Urban Building

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

This is an urban carriage house probably not used as a residence for at least part of its lifespan. There are two separate entrances on either side of a carriageway. The horse and buggies or horses would have been driven through the carriageway and tethered at the rear of the building.

 

Georgian Urban Building

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

This is typical of Edwardian Arts and Crafts art glass. The owners of the house have been very careful to keep the original glass. They had storms made that are almost invisible.

Georgian Urban Building

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

Georgian House

Toronto

Georgian House

Toronto Ontario

Hamilton

Here is another beautifully maintained Edwardian house. It is an example of the Edwardian Arts and Crafts movement, inspired by the British architect Charles Voysey. Voysey's signature houses had plain white stucco exteriors, many banks of windows, not related to one another necessarily, in the sort of classical way, and always a signature heart shape.

Georgian Stone House

Edwardian Arts and Crafts - After Voysey, Hamilton Ontario

Hamilton

The exterior is rough cast stucco with banks of windows.

Hamilton

The Heart shape s found on the downspout of the eaves troughs. These are all galvanized metal.

Hamilton

er blocks than the rest of the façade.

 

Hamilton Window Surround

Dundas is a very old community that was originally a working town. There are a lot of very old workers cottages and cottages in the downtown core that have been restored and are in wonderful shape. This is an example of that.

 

Edwardian Newel

This

Georgian Stone House Sash Window Shutters

Hamilton Ontario

Edwardian Newel

This

Georgian Stone House Sash Window Shutters

Hamilton Ontario

Edwardian Sconce

This beautifully restored georgian store front in Westfield has a false-front,

Georgian Store Westfield Village

Hamilton Ontario

Hamilton

Hamilton has a lot of lovley Edwardian buildings. This one on Aberdeen Avenue is a great example of the clean Edwardian style with Arts and Crafts elements. The dormer is oversized with some half-timbered effects. There is a lovely porch large enough for a few chairs, and the plain black and white finishes are elegant and understated.

 

Hamilton

The porch is typical of the Edwardian era. Paired posts are held together with a wooden band. The roof is held in place by large paired brackets. The stairs are wide and generous , and not encumbered with a lot of fancy detailing. The white stucco finish is well maintained, and the roof is textured but the same colour as the trim. The effect is one of calm good taste.

Georgian Stone House Sash Window Shutters

Hamilton Ontario

Hamilton

Inside there are many windows that reflect the 'Art Glass' look that is popular in both Arts and Crafts and Edwardian buildings. Here, the Art Glass has an upsdie- down heart that may be reflective of Voysey. The rest of the piece is very Art Nouveau.

Georgian Stone House Sash Window Shutters

Hamilton Ontario

Hamilton

Here is another example from the same house. The owners have been very clever in their maintenance of the house. The windows have been maintained and storms have been put on the outside for maintaining the heat. Many studies have proved that original glass with a wooden storm is at least as energy efficient as new windows, if not more. The look of the building is maintained as well as making the home warm and cosy.

Georgian Store Westfield Village

Hamilton Ontario

 

Edwardian - In Memoriam

Hotel Quinte was a travellers hotel. It was on the route from Toronto to Montreal and used by stage coach passengers as well as train commuters. The outside was elegant and understated for Edwardian times. There was a large cornice above the third floor, a few Florentine arches and a repeating theme of three brick arches in the Romanesque Revival style.

The interior had huge gilded Corinthian columns, an extraordinarily good mosaic lobby floor, and Baroque Revival door surrounds. The owners had received government funding to restore the building. It caught fire during Christmas week.

On December 21 2012 the historic Edwardian Hotel Qunite burned to the ground.

"Lyle Quennell, Belleville's senior fire prevention officer, said flames were first seen on the second floor of Hotel Quinte at Pinnacle and Bridge Streets about 30 minutes after fire crews from Station 1 and 2 arrived on scene.

Quennell noted about 45 firefighters were on scene through the night – getting the blaze under control around 4 a.m. Friday.

Firefighters were still on scene throughout the morning — working in a steady rain and wet snow mix, using two aerial ladder trucks to pour water onto the hotel's roof and inside the scorched building.

December 21 2012

Belleville Intelligencer

Belleville

This is only one of the fabulous doors destroyed in the fire. It had a Baroque Revivaldoor surround with a festooned keystone and a broken pediment.

Consoles adorned the sides of the lugged door casing.

 

 

Georgian House

Belleville Ontario

BLDG10043

Edwardian Extra Reading and Films

Books

 

Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture A Guide to Styles and Terms. 1978.

Gradidge, Roderick, Dream Houses: The Edwardian Ideal ,London, Constable, 1980.

Long, Helen C., The Edwardian House,Manchester: Manchester University press, 1993.

Priestley, J.B.. The Edwardians London: Heinemann, 1970.

Service, Alastair. Edwardian Architecture London: Thames and Hudson, 1977.

For information on Edwardian architecture in specific areas within Ontario there are some very good books listed under the About page.

Films and TV

Downton Abbey

Corontation Street

Howard's End

Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter

The Golden Bowl

Pride and Prejudice, (1995) (2005)

Sense and Sensability, (1995) (2008)

 

 

Shutter railing Chimney Keystone Transom Balcony Pediment Sash Shutter Veranda Chimney Sash Windows Voussoirs Band Flat Arch Door Surround Shutters Chimney Stairs Sash Window Shutters Georgian Style fence Sash Quoins Roof