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Victorian Buildings

A selection of buildings that reflect some of the major aspects of the Victorian era.

Check out our Teaching Activity What can a town's buildings tell us about Victorian minds?



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Military Lunatic Asylum, Victoria House, Hound, Hampshire
Crown copyright.NMR

Military Lunatic Asylum, Victoria House, Hound, Hampshire

Built in about 1870 this hospital treated military personnel who had developed mental illnesses. As technology allowed weapons of greater destructive ability to be made so the potential for mental as well as physical injury increased. The building is now a police-training centre.

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Police Station, Blyth, Northumberland
English Heritage. NMR/Mr Erik Borg

Police Station, Blyth, Northumberland

Victorian buildings were often very practical. This buildings' main entrance has 'Police Station' carved above it and internal doors have 'Magistrates' and 'Solicitors' above them. It was designed in 1896, by John Cresswell, the County Architect in a Free Gothic style

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The School House, Shinfield, Wokingham, Berkshire
English Heritage.NMR/Brian Steptoe FRPS

The School House, Shinfield, Wokingham, Berkshire

Built in 1890 as a school and school house this building is now library and house. Before the Victorian era most children did not go to school. By the end of the Victorian era all children under 12 were supposed to go to school. This meant 100s of new schools were built during Victorian times.

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St Pancras Public Baths, Camden, Greater London
English Heritage.NMR/Mr Steve Kirkland

St Pancras Public Baths, Camden, Greater London

Public baths, swimming baths & launderette, formerly with a laundry and public hall built 1898-1900. During the Victorian period most working class people didn't have washing facilities in their homes.

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Old Fire Station, Shere, Surrey
English Heritage.NMR/Mr Norman Wigg

Old Fire Station, Shere, Surrey

The Victorians invented the Fire Brigade as we know it in 1866. Built in 1885 this purpose-built fire station is a prominent feature in the village centre

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West Bar Fire Station Museum, Sheffield, Yorkshire
English Heritage.NMR/Mrs Barbara A West LRPS

West Bar Fire Station Museum, Sheffield, Yorkshire

In 1866 the Police Fire Brigade was created. This Police, fire and ambulance station, built 1897-1900 is now a fire museum

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Gas Green Baptist Church, Russell Street, Cheltenham
English Heritage.NMR/Mr Rodney Allen

Gas Green Baptist Church, Russell Street, Cheltenham

Gas Green Baptist Church built around 1836 for the Primitive Methodists. This Nonconformist chapel is typical of many built in this period in a simple classical style. They are often outside of town centres, among rows of terraced houses

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Oldham Town Hall, Greater Manchester
English Heritage.NMR/Ms Pamela Jackson LRPS

Oldham Town Hall, Greater Manchester

Town Hall, incorporating courts and civic offices built in 1841. It was built in the classical style of buildings from Ancient Greece, as an acknowledgement of democratic government.

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Warehouse D, Albert Dock, Canning Place, Liverpool, Merseyside
English Heritage.NMR/Mrs Anne Gilmore LRPS, CPAGB

Warehouse D, Albert Dock, Canning Place, Liverpool, Merseyside

Many Victorians became rich by trading goods from all over the world. This warehouse built in 1841-5 would have been used to store goods suh as sugar that were brought in and cloth to be shipped out. The Albert Dock was one of the earliest enclosed docks in the world

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Holloway Prison, Islington, Greater London
Reproduced by permission of English Heritage.NMR

Holloway Prison, Islington, Greater London

Holloway Prison was built in 1849-51 by J B Bunning, who copied the gatehouse from Warwick Castle. It became a women's prison in 1902. A rebuilding programme began in the 1970s.

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Holy Trinity Almshouses, Heath Town, Wolverhampton
English Heritage.NMR/Mr D.R. Smith LRPS

Holy Trinity Almshouses, Heath Town, Wolverhampton

The tradition of almshouses continued alongside the workhouse system. These almshouses were built around 1850 at the expense of a local benefactor, and were closely associated with Holy Trinity Church. They still provide sheltered housing today.

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Former Leeds New Workhouse, St James' Hospital, Leeds
English Heritage. NMR/

Former Leeds New Workhouse, St James' Hospital, Leeds

Originally a workhouse St James' Hospital was built by Perkin and Backhouse of Leeds. The Leeds New Workhouse was built to accomodate 800 persons, at a cost of £32,000. The foundation stone was laid in 1858 and the building opened 28/03/1861. In common with many workhouses it later became part of the Leeds Township Infirmary which was funded by the Poor Law Guardians. In 1995 it was converted into the Thackray Medical Museum.

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Museum and Public Library, Fleetwood, Lancashire
English Heritage.NMR/Mr G M Smith ARPS

Museum and Public Library, Fleetwood, Lancashire

Fleetwood Museum and Public Library 1863. Self-improvment was important to Victorians. Libraries were built to allow 'the people' to educate and improve themselves

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Anglo-Bavarian Brewery, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
COPYRIGHT English Heritage.NMR

Anglo-Bavarian Brewery, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

This brewery was built in around 1864, and is typical of many Victorian factories and industrial buildings with its grandiose design. Since 1830, when an Act of Parliament allowed greater freedom for the establishing of beer houses, the consumption of beer flourished. This building has now been converted into factory units.

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Spurgeons Orphanage,  Stockwell, Brixton, Greater London
Reproduced by permission of English Heritage.NMR

Spurgeons Orphanage, Stockwell, Brixton, Greater London

Children gathered outside an orphanage in 1884, it was built in 1866. The government did not provide any orphanages, they were all funded by private individuals or religious groups. Dr Barnardo's first home was not set up until 1870, but by 1905 he had set up 66 homes and helped over 60,000 children.

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St Pancras Station, Euston Road, Greater London
English Heritage.NMR

St Pancras Station, Euston Road, Greater London

The south front of St Pancras Station, built in 1868. Railways were vital in shaping Victorian society

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Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester
Copyright Crown copyright.NMR

Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester

A perspective view of the Town Hall in Manchester. It was built in 1868-77 by Alfred Waterhouse. This grand design promoted the city's wealth and status

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Corn Exchange and Fish Market,  Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Copyright Crown copyright.NMR

Corn Exchange and Fish Market, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

The Corn Exchange in Doncaster was built in 1870 and combines Victorian classical architecture with a dome reminiscent of that on the Crystal Palace, built 20 years earlier for the Great Exhibition (1851). The Corn Exchange is now used as a market hall.

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Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, Greater London
Reproduced by permission of English Heritage.NMR

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, Greater London

The Natural History Museum was completed in 1880. Many Victorians believed in promoting self-education.

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Victoria Building, Liverpool University, Liverpool
English Heritage.NMR/Mr Brendan Oxlade LRPS

Victoria Building, Liverpool University, Liverpool

Many new universities were built during the Victorian period often known as the 'Redbrick' Universities. This is the main University building at Liverpool, built 1887-92.

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Durning Library, Lambeth, Greater London
English Heritage.NMR/Mr David March

Durning Library, Lambeth, Greater London

This library was built in 1889. It has been inserted into a row of older buildings and is an example of the Victorian Gothic Revival style of architecture

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Midland Bank, Oswestry, Shropshire
Copyright Crown copyright.NMR

Midland Bank, Oswestry, Shropshire

This bank was built in 1890 by Grayson and Ould. It is built in a neo-Tudor style of red brick with ashlar dressings. Tudor and Medieval styling were both popular ways of displaying wealth in Victorian society.

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Miners and Mechanics Institute, St Agnes, Cornwall
English Heritage.NMR/Mr Michael McCloy

Miners and Mechanics Institute, St Agnes, Cornwall

Built in 1893 this is one of 4 institutes in Cornwall donated by J. Passmore Edwards. Institues such as this were often set up by well meaning Victorian benefactors. They provided working people with libraries and rooms for meetings and lectures.

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Former Chubbs Lock Works, Wolverhampton, West Midlands
English Heritage.NMR/Mr GW Tanner ARPS

Former Chubbs Lock Works, Wolverhampton, West Midlands

Former Chubb's Lock Works built in 1898-9. Large factories like this could be found in most towns during the Victorian period.

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The Market Inn, Truro, Cornwall
English Heritage.NMR/Margaret Hocking ARPS

The Market Inn, Truro, Cornwall

The Market Inn Public house built around 1900. There were more public houses in Victorian times than today. This one still looks as it did in Victorian times



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