Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

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Graeme Leary
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Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by Graeme Leary » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:18 am

A general 'scenic' query. I have a large number of Metcalfe kits of stone and red brick terrace cottages depicting 'typical' rows of such houses (in 2 'groups' 1 all stone and the other the red brick). A fellow modeller commented that when he grew up in Crigglestone near Wakefield, none of these types of terraced houses had dormer windows set in to the roofs. Before I remove these windows (from a total of 24 terraces) would this be a fair comment - as you might expect in a smallish semi-industrial town? (Kicking myself as during my many trips to such places had never thought to look).

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Re: Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by exile » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:47 pm

Dormer windows in small terraced houses was extremely rare if found at all before modern home improvement TV programs. Even now the problems of getting a compliant stairway to the roof area makes this feature on the model have a tendency towards fiction rather than fact.

Larger houses may have had dormers or roof lights fitted.

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Re: Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by PGBerrie » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:09 pm

I don't remember any terraced houses with dormers either (Horbury, not far from Crigglestone, home of Charles Roberts).

If you are looking for photos of buildings in West Yorkshire try http://www.twixtaireandcalder.org.uk/


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Re: Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by Bunkerbarge » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:51 pm

I have lived in Halifax for many years in the past and all my family going back the generations I know have come from there. I, and my family, have lived on many a terraced street over the years. Dormers in the roof spaces of terraced houses are a relatively modern idea to, not surprisingly, make the most of the space available in what was basically originally designed as a one up one down house. Going back to my childhood say, 50 years ago, they were unheard of so if you are modelling before that time I would remove them.

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Re: Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by JASd17 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:10 pm

Not many, even now, on the stone-built terraces around me in the West Yorkshire.

Nor do they appear to be common in brick-built terraces in the Wakefield area.

I have a book on terraced houses, and there are many regional variations, plus higher status Victorian terraces did sometimes have dormers as part of the original design.

I also have a book 'Workers' Housing in West Yorkshire', can I find it....?


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Re: Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by drmditch » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:41 pm

Some years ago, when constructing (and re-working) some Metcalfe kits for a small terrace, I did investigate another difference with rooflines.
I can't find my notes just at present, and the models themselves are still packed away, but the issue has to do with firewalls, and whether they were built through the attic spaces and through the roof tiling.

There appeared to be a difference (at least in the 19th Century) between regulation and practice between the north and south of the country.

I thought I had created a thread in this forum, but cannot locate it at present.

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Re: Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by john coffin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:07 am

Dormer windows are claimed to be from around the middle to end of the 17th century in both France and Holland.

The definition is that the window is vertical to roof line.

Terrace houses though were built to a very low price spec, and generally rental properties so it is unlikely that they
would have been installed until late into the 1960's., when the DIY boom took off.

So depending on the period, they almost certainly NOT have had them. As has been said in most cases the upper floor
was often an after thought so had very small windows. Often the attics did not have firebreaks between the attached
houses until around the 1930's, when some of the building regulations began to be implemented.


Graeme Leary
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Re: Terraced house roofs Dormer windows

Post by Graeme Leary » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:40 am

Thanks all, the dormer removals shall definitely start.

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