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Edwardian architecture

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Belfast City Hall, an example of Edwardian Baroque architecture or "Wrenaissance", in Northern Ireland

Edwardian architecture usually means a Neo-Baroque architectural style that was popular for public buildings in the British Empire during the Edwardian era (1901–1910). Architecture up to 1914 is commonly included in this style.[1]

It can also be used to mean various styles in middle-class housing, including relaxed versions of Arts and Crafts architecture.



Edwardian architecture is generally less ornate than high or late Victorian architecture,[2] apart from a subset – used for major buildings – known as Edwardian Baroque architecture.

Masonic Temple, Aberdeen, Scotland built in 1910.

The Victorian Society campaigns to preserve architecture built between 1837 and 1914, and so includes Edwardian as well as Victorian architecture within its remit.[3]



The characteristic features of the Edwardian Baroque style were drawn from two main sources: the architecture of France during the 18th century and that of Sir Christopher Wren in England during the 17th—part of the English Baroque (for this reason Edwardian Baroque is sometimes referred to as "Wrenaissance"). Sir Edwin Lutyens was a major exponent, designing many commercial buildings in what he termed 'the Grand Style' during the later 1910s and 1920s. This period of British architectural history is considered a particularly retrospective one, since it is contemporary with Art Nouveau.

Typical details of Edwardian Baroque architecture include extensive rustication, usually more extreme at ground level, often running into and exaggerating the voussoirs of arched openings (derived from French models); domed corner rooftop pavilions and a central taller tower-like element creating a lively rooftop silhouette; revived Italian Baroque elements such as exaggerated keystones, segmental arched pediments, columns with engaged blocks, attached block-like rustication to window surrounds; colonnades of (sometimes paired) columns in the Ionic order and domed towers modelled closely on Wren's for the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Some Edwardian Baroque buildings include details from other sources, such as the Dutch gables of Norman Shaw's Piccadilly Hotel in London.

Edwardian houses in Sutton, Greater London, England
Catts Farm, Kingsclere, Newbury, design by H. Launcelot Fedden (1869–1910), as seen in The Building News, July 31, 1908.

Other characteristics include:

  • Colour: lighter colours were used; the use of gas and later electric lights caused designers to be less concerned about the need to disguise soot buildup on walls compared to Victorian era architecture.[2]
  • Patterns: "Decorative patterns were less complex; both wallpaper and curtain designs were more plain."[2]
  • Clutter: "There was less clutter than in the Victorian era. Ornaments were perhaps grouped rather than everywhere."

Architectural influences


Notable examples

53 King Street, built for Lloyds Bank during 1915.
Lancaster House, Manchester, built during 1910.

United Kingdom



Department of Education Building, Sydney
Flinders Street station, Melbourne
An Edwardian residence in South Yarra, Melbourne




Hotel Macdonald
The Empress Hotel

Hong Kong





Government Buildings near Merrion Square, Dublin


Penang City Hall in Penang
  • City Hall, George Town, Penang (1903)
  • Second floor extension to Town Hall, George Town, Penang (1903)
  • Former Government Offices (now State Islamic Council building), George Town, Penang (1907)
  • Federated Malay States railway station/Malayan Railways building (Wisma Kastam), George Town, Penang by Arthur Benison Hubback (1907)
  • George Town Dispensary/Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, George Town, Penang (1922)
  • Ipoh Town Hall and former General Post Office, Ipoh, Perak (1916)
  • Railway station in Ipoh, Perak by Arthur Benison Hubback (1917 to 1935)
  • Former State Secretariat (State Library), Seremban, Negeri Sembilan (1912)

New Zealand




South Africa


Sri Lanka




See also



  1. ^ Long, Helen C. (1993), The Edwardian House: The Middle-class Home in Britain, 1880-1914, Manchester: Manchester University Press
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Bricks & Brass: Edwardian Style". Bricksandbrass.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  3. ^ "What we do". The Victorian Society. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  4. ^ Evans, Ian (1999) [1986]. The Federation House. Mullumbimby, NSW: Flannel Flower Press. p. 8. ISBN 1-875253-11-4.
  5. ^ Antram, Nicholas; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2013). Sussex: East with Brighton and Hove. The Buildings of England. London: Yale University Press. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-300-18473-0.
  6. ^ "History of the College - About Us - Belfast Met".
  7. ^ Antram, Nicholas; Morrice, Richard (2008). Brighton and Hove. Pevsner Architectural Guides. London: Yale University Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-300-12661-7.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Ralli Memorial Hall, walls and railings, Denmark Villas, Hove (Grade II) (1298671)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Department of Education Building". NSW State Heritage Register. Office of Environment & Heritage, Government of New South Wales. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources - Ford Motor Company of Canada Warehouse". Archived from the original on 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-02-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

Further reading

  • Gray, A. S., Edwardian Architecture: a Biographical Dictionary (1985).
  • Long, H., The Edwardian House: the Middle-Class Home in Britain 1880–1914 (1993).
  • Hockman, H.,[clarification needed]
  • Service, A., Edwardian Architecture: Edwardian House Style Handbook (2007) David & Charles ISBN 0-7153-2780-1 (1977) Thames & Hudson ISBN 0-500-18158-6