Understanding Georgian & Regency London Houses

Town Planning, Leasing & Layout

Here we see how Georgian and Regency London houses were planned and how the ground and the houses built on it were leased. We look at the kinds or ‘Rates’ of houses which were built and a plan for a development in Alfred Place. We see a typical streetscape of the period in Blackfriars Bridge Road and a design for the elevations for The Royal Terrace, Adelphi, a particularly grand and important development in London.

We also see a view of Fitzroy Square which was designed by Adam to look like a series of grand palaces rather than a simple row of identical terraced houses.

Collections | Georgian & Regency | Town Planning, Leasing & Layout
The Royal Terrace, Adelphi

The Royal Terrace, Adelphi


Adam Vol. 32/10

The Adelphi was a development of very fashionable houses together with shops and a tavern. The scheme was designed by Robert Adam and developed by him and his brothers from 1768–72. Adelphi means ‘brothers’ in Greek. They almost went bankrupt building the scheme and were only saved by holding a lottery with some of the houses as prizes; in the eighteenth century people loved gambling. The design was very clever - the site overlooked the Thames and the houses were raised up above a wharf and warehouses for storing goods brought into London on the river. Most goods were carried by water in the eighteenth century.

Small ‘cottages’ were built in the spaces between the houses and the warehouses and were lit by the arched or ‘Diocletian’ windows. The name for these windows comes from the Roman Emperor Diocletian whose palace was built at the turn of the fourth century AD, in what is now Croatia. Adam had studied Diocletian ‘s palace which was the inspiration for The Adelphi. The two streets leading away from the river were called Adam Street and Robert Street – other streets were called John Street, James Street and William Street after the other brothers.