The History and Evolution of Sash Windows | Mortice & Green

Sash Windows

The History and Evolution of Sash Windows | Mortice & Green

There is some debate as to the exact origin of sash windows, but they can be traced back to somewhere in the 13th century in Europe. Although they may not have been worthy of the ‘window’ title at that point, they were more like vertical sliding wooden shutters. Flash forward 300 years and by the end of the 16th century they had evolved into a form we would recognise today but were able to slide horizontally. Then, sometime in the 17th century the French noticed that it was safer to use vertical sliding windows as they didn’t open inward which causes impediments to the residents of the building.

Vertical Sliding Sash Windows

The sophisticated style of sash windows soon moved across the channel and became a fashionable status symbol across Britain and the colonies. Many earlier casement windows were replaced with sash windows in notable buildings such as Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace. Soon after that sash windows were used almost exclusively in any building from a royal residence to a simple cottage.

Georgian Sash Windows

In 1666 something happened that would further shape the evolution of sash windows, a fire started on Pudding Lane and grew into a four-day blaze that destroyed an estimated 13,200 houses. After this, building regulations were drastically overhauled in an attempt to reduce the risk of further fires and inhibit their possible spread. The regulations stipulated that timber window frames should be recessed behind the brick façade, leading to the development of Georgian architecture.

Victorian Sash Windows

The Victorians lavished ornamentation and decoration on their homes. Curved horns, multi-ached heads, intricate mouldings, leaded lights and lattice work started to appear in combination with sash windows. The windows were often grouped into impressive bays and offset with ornate stone.

Edwardian Sash Windows

Beginning when Edward VIII became king in 1901, and lasting only util 1920, when he died, the Edwardian period borrowed from the eras before it, combining the best of Georgian and Victorian. Although the period was only short, there was a housing boom in this era which means the architecture of that tine heavily dominates our present homes.

Modern Sash Windows

The modern design of sash windows has continued to be developed and refined as new techniques and materials appear and are incorporated into the windows. At Mortice and Green, we are pleased to continue with this process of development. Sash windows offer you a degree of beauty and history that modern windows just can’t compete with, so we are always eager to do everything we can to repair and preserve them. Get in touch if you want to know more about how we can help you restore your windows to their original beauty.

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