‘Lusty bastards’ or ‘Siamese twins’: some thoughts on semi-detached houses

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Monday, 10 July 2023
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

St Margaret's United Reform Church
Victoria Avenue
N3 1BD

Our suburban landscape is so full of semi-detached houses that we hardly ever think about how they came about, why there are so many, and the differences between them. This talk will look at the social and architectural history of this most common of English building types, using some local examples – and why some people thought of them as ‘lusty bastards’ or ‘Siamese twins’.  We will also see how such houses figure in the writings of John Ruskin, Thomas Hardy, George Orwell and others.

Publicity brochure for the Woodside Park development, 1933.

Until retirement, speaker Frank Kelsall spent his professional life in building conservation, working in the public, private and voluntary sectors. He has served as chairman of the London Society, and was president of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. He is currently chairman of the City of London’s Conservation Areas Advisory Committee and has recently published a book on Nicholas Barbon, London’s main property developer in the years after the Great Fire of 1666.