HISTORY OF THE BUNGALOW
Historically, some people look down their noses at the bungalow, but we know differently!
Research by Alliance and Leicester revealed that although just two per cent of homes in Britain are bungalows, a staggering third of the population would like to live in one. Around 35 per cent of respondents described a bungalow as their dream home. While an astonishing 47 per cent of 16- to 19-year-olds (no, not 60- to 90-year-olds) liked the idea of not having to use the stairs.
Single storey dwellings under the name Bungalow have been around since the mid-19th century. The bungalow became both a symbol of bohemianism and the building type of choice for the aspiring upper middle class seeking an affordable second home in which to enjoy the new concept of ‘the weekend’.
The term ‘bungalow’ originated in the Bengali region of India, meaning ‘house in the Bengal style’. These houses were traditionally small, of one story and detached, and had a wide veranda. These “bungales” were built in India for English sailors of the East India Company. Later the term became used for the spacious homes or official lodgings of officials in British India. The ‘bungalow’ then became known in Britain, and later America, where it had high status and exotic connotations.
The style began to be used in the late 19th century for large country or suburban residential buildings built in the ‘Arts and Crafts’ style.
The first modern British bungalows were designed by a little-known English architect, John Taylor, (1818-1884), and built at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent in 1869.
A passing journalist in 1870 likened Taylor’s buildings to bungalows, and the name stuck. Taylor himself adopted the term once it had become a bankable brand, championed by one of the most eminent physicians of the day, Professor Erasmus Wilson.
After purchasing the first four of Taylor’s bungalows himself, Wilson wrote to him “The idea of Bungalows seems to take people’s minds immensely. They are novel, quaint, pretty and perfect as to sanitary qualities. The best sanitary home for a family is a Bungalow”.
Bungalows became popular in the UK between the two World Wars and very large numbers were built, particularly in coastal resorts. They can be maligned by some as a throwback to an unfashionable age, but despite that buyers love them. Bungalows are routinely voted in surveys to be the most desirable property type in the UK for all age groups.
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