I’m happy to be welcoming Maria Grace back to the blog to celebrate her latest book, Dragons Beyond the Pale. As you will have deduced from the title, this is the latest in her Jane Austen’s Dragons series, the seventh book in the series. Maria has brought us one of my favourite types of post, which is a post about history, specifically the history of the Georgian terrace house. Now, I live in a street where there are terraced houses but they are not in the same vein as Georgian ones, which are FANTASTIC. And also, in some cases, HUGE. There are stunning examples of Georgian terraced houses in places like London or Bath.
Maria has also been so kind as to bring a book giveaway with her too; either the first in her Jane Austen’s Dragons series, if you are new to the series, or this latest book, Dragons Beyond the Pale. First, we will look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Maria for her guest post, which I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I did 😊
Smugglers. A kidnapping. A fire-breathing fairy dragon? The Blue Order is falling apart at the seams.
After months in Bath mentoring Dragon Keepers and Friends, Dragon Sage Elizabeth Darcy actually anticipates traveling to London for the Keeper’s Cotillion. Which says a great deal considering the she-dragons who make up the Cotillion board would very much like to show the Sage her proper place.
The she-dragons, though, are no match for what Sir Fitzwilliam Darcy finds waiting for him in London. Threats to the Order on every side, and Lord Matlock demands he keep them secret from Elizabeth. No one keeps secrets from Elizabeth.
In the meantime, Anne and Frederick Wentworth arrive in London with hopes of finally being accepted in good Blue Order society, unaware of the burgeoning maelstrom about to engulf them.
Darcy manages to keep matters under control until a fairy-dragon’s prank unleashes sinister forces who perpetrate an unthinkable crime that could spell the end of the Pendragon Accords and usher in a new age of dragon war.
Can Elizabeth and Darcy, with the Wentworths’ help, restore balance to the Blue Order before the dragons decide to take matters into their own talons and right the wrongs themselves?
Guest Post from Maria Grace – The Georgian Terrace House
Good morning, Ceri! It’s lovely to visit with you today and share a bit of the history research rabbit hole I dove down while writing the latest book, the world of the Georgian Terrace house.
Terrace houses dominated the London landscape during the Regency. Almost the entire London population, rich and poor alike, line in one or another version of the terrace house.
The term terrace house described streets of houses with uniform fronts and height that created a single elevation to the street. The design of these houses varied little whether located in London, Bath, Dublin or Edinburgh though the exterior facades might differ with local stone or brick, stucco or fancy ornamentation. Georgian terraces built along main urban thoroughfares often incorporated ground-floor shops with residences in the upper stories.
The Design of Terrace Houses
This Building Act of 1774, the final of several that came about as a response to the Great Fire of London in 1666 required the use of stone or brick fronts, specified street width, the size and layout of the houses, floor to ceiling heights and controlled decoration on facades. It also divided terrace houses into four classes, defined by the number of stories, ceiling heights, road widths and wall thicknesses. At the very bottom of the scale, fourth rate houses were those built in large numbers by speculative developers from the late eighteenth century in response to industrial development in towns like Liverpool and Manchester. These houses were often built back-to-back in tiny yards pressed behind street frontages. In contrast, some of the wealthiest people in the country owned palatial, first rate terraced houses in prestigious locales like Belgrave Square and Carlton House Terrace.
First, second and fourth rate town homes
First rate houses faced streets and lanes, were worth over £850 per year in ground rent and occupied over 900 square feet of ground space. Keep in mind, these houses usually had four stories, plus a basement so they were frequently more than 4500 square feet on the inside. Second rate houses faced streets, notable lanes, and the River Thames. They were worth between £350 and £850 in ground rent and had an exterior foot print of 500-900 square feet.
Third rate houses faced principal streets, rented for £150-£300 and occupied 350-500 square feet ground space. The most humble terrace houses, the fourth rate house, was worth less than £150 per year in rent and occupied less than 350 square feet of land. These houses might be only three stories instead of four and stood in yards and courts, apart from easy street access.
Whatever the size of the terrace house, the general plan was always the same. There would be one room at the back and one at the front of each floor with a passage and staircase at one side. The rooms were sometimes divided into smaller units.
All except the poorest houses had basements. Most of the service rooms would be in the basement which was often accessed through an open area in front with steps leading down to it. The open area would give light to the kitchen windows and opened onto storage vaults under the pavement. Small wells around the house would allow for windows to light other subterranean rooms including back staircases and household offices.
A variety of offices might be housed in the basement include the scullery (a small room for washing and story dishes and kitchen equipment); pantry and larder for food storage; butler's pantry and quarters, safe, and cleaning-room for the silver; housekeeper's-office; still-room for drying and preparing foods and herbs for storage, medicinal formulations, soap, etc; servants'-hall where servants might eat and socialize; a wine-cellar and a closet for beer; laundry and housemaid's-closet for linen storage; quarters for housekeeper, cook and possibly men-servants; and vaults for coals and dust. Even in the largest of house not all these rooms might be present and if present, they could be very small, with many of them packed tightly into the limited basement space.
The best rooms in a townhouse were on the ground (which Americans call the first floor) and first floor and faced the back of the house, away from the dirt and noise of the street. These included drawing rooms, parlors and dining rooms.
Drawing rooms were a place near the front door for accessibility in greeting visitors. The women of the house and their female guests would also use the drawing room as a place to retreat after dinner, so they would be near the dining room as well. In contrast, the more modest parlor was a private room for the family’s enjoyment.
In large houses, the ground floor might also house an entrance hall, cloak-room, storage closet, and library or office. These would be more likely to face the street side of the house.
The First Floor
The first floor (which Americans would consider the second floor) contained large rooms for entertaining. Large or folding doors might connect smaller rooms so that they could be opened to create larger spaces. Principal bedrooms might also occupy this floor, usually located in the front (street side) of the house.
The Second Floor
The more modest second floor featured secondary bedrooms for children, or perhaps a lodgers or guests. The rooms on this floor would be more simply furnished and decorated than those on lower floors. Bathing rooms, closets and linen storage rooms for both cleaned and soiled lines might also be located on this floor.
The rooms on the highest floor were reserved servants, who often used beds that were let down from the wall like murphy beds. Nursery suits and storage rooms might also be located here. These rooms were cheaply painted and furnished.
Even though there was a great deal of similarity between the different rate terraced homes, the differences were important reflections of the wealth and status of the occupants of these homes and offer a delicious variety of details for world building and story crafting. I found myself in a deep dive into these types of homes as I was crafting the world of the Blue Order for Jane Austen's Dragons. I was pleasantly surprised how easily this sort of architecture fit in with the needs of the dragon world.
Or perhaps I should not have been, because Of Course, There Were Dragons!
Kerr, Robert. The Gentleman's House (1871, 3ed.)
Lane, Maggie. Jane Austen and Food Hambledon (1995)
Le Faye, Deirdre. Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels. Harry N. Abrams (2002)
Parissien, Steven. Regency Style Phaidon Press Limited (2000)
Sabor, Peter (editor). The Cambridge Edition of the Juvenilia. Cambridge University Press (2006)
Spencer-Churchill, Henrietta. Classic Georgian Style. Collins & Brown (1997)
Summerson, John - Georgian London Yale University Press (2003)
Yorke, Trevor. Georgian & Regency Houses Explained Countryside Books (2007) Yorke, Trevor. Regency House Styles Countryside Books (2013)
Author Bio - Maria Grace
Six-time BRAG Medallion Honoree, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time.
She writes gas lamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction.
She can be contacted at:
Dragons Beyond the Pale is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
Website: Jane Austen’s Dragons
Maria Grace is offering an ebook giveaway of either the first book in the Jane Austen’s Dragons series, Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon, or this latest book, Dragons Beyond the Pale. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day worldwide on Sunday 2 May 2021.
Note about comments: If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)
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