Understanding Georgian & Regency London Houses

This selection of 24 drawings, prints and documents has been chosen as an introduction to Georgian and Regency London Houses, how they were planned, designed, built and lived in.

The period of Sir John Soane’s lifetime (1753-1837), saw London grow very rapidly. Already bigger than Constantinople in 1753, when Soane was born, it was the biggest city in the world, which it remained throughout the nineteenth century. Housing was central to this expansion. As field after field were covered in brick and villages were swallowed up, the primary type of building was the terraced house.

All the drawings and prints shown here are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum. He had one of the very best collections of drawings and books any architect ever put together which show buildings from many different periods and places including London houses of the period. Soane left his own house, together with his collections, as a museum which is why you can visit it today. It is a very special house, not simply because it was designed and furnished by a brilliant architect, but it remains virtually untouched since his death in 1837. Many houses of the period have survived in London but none are as perfectly preserved or extraordinary as this one.


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Sir John Soane painted by his friend Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1829Sir John Soane painted by his friend Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1829

Town Planning, Leasing and Layout

Design of the House

Building the House

Living in the House