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Victorian

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Although ubiquitously employed, the term 'Victorian' is seldom defined as an architectural style. In The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture (4th Edition, 1991) one is referred to the entry on English architecture and there the term is introduced on a defensive note 'But Victorian architecture is not all license and exuberance'. It continues '[There is] a respect for the past, a historicism taken very seriously as a matter of religious or social responsibility. The license is usually paramount in domestic, the seriousness in ecclesiastical architecture.' This moral aspect of Victorian architecture is most readily found in ecclesiastical architecture, particularly that of the Anglican Church, and one of the best exponents of the style is Sophia GRAY (1814-1871). As with those of Gray, the churches of BAKER and his office, as official architect to the Anglican Church, also reflect the style [although in this restrained form on this site termed Kentish Style]. The license of domestic Victorian architecture derived from the pattern books and the products of industrialisation, corrugated iron being the pervasive roofing material, the structure embellished by prefabricated catalogue components (MacFarlanes of Scotland being at the forefront). Hence balustrades, railings, columns and roof combs all lent to being pre-styled in the prevailing taste for Adamesque decoration, including the stucco-work of ceilings being translated into pressed steel. It is thus apparent that the most exuberant expressions of the style would be in the homes of the nouveau riche - the ostrich palaces, homes of the mining magnates, or of the entrepreneurs that followed in their wake. (See Greig, D.1971. A guide to architecture in South Africa). The term Victorian is now often used as a blanket term for all the contemporary eclectic styling throughout South Africa, but it should be remembered that until the end of the Anglo-Boer War the Free State and Transvaal were independent Republics and attracted architects from European, rather than British tradition. Hence the need for a separate style term, 'Wilhelmiens'.

List of structures built in this style

with images
with notes

Braeside, n.d., Swellendam, Western Cape
Bukkenburg House, c1890, Swellendam, Western Cape
Dunluce, 1897, Belgravia, Kimberley, Northern Cape
Dwelling House, n.d., Swellendam, Western Cape
Government House, 1832, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Historic House, 1900, Swellendam, Western Cape
Historic House, 1900, Swellendam, Western Cape
Historic House, 1900, Swellendam, Western Cape
Historic House, 1890c, Swellendam, Western Cape
Hope Lodge, 1900, Swellendam, Western Cape
House Baron von Elgg, 1875, Malmesbury, Western Cape
House Galpin: Tower house, (now the Observatory Museum), 1850, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
House Savage - now Ann Bryant Art Gallery, 1905, Belgravia, East London, Eastern Cape
Late Victorian Dwelling, 1890, Swellendam, Western Cape
Malherbe House (Farm Kleinbosch), n.d., Dal Josaphat, Western Cape
Malta House, 1750, Swellendam, Western Cape
Railway Station Building, 1884, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape
St Dominic's Academy Pavilion, 1916, Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal
Town Hall, 1870, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
Victorian House, 1890, Swellendam, Western Cape
Windyridge, c1880, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

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