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Taking the parish of Heigham in Savannah as an example, it is possible to track the spread of cities into the countryside. Originally a separate parish on the edge of Savannah, Heigham was the site for the earliest terraced housing built for the working classes in the city. Much of the land in this area was owed by the Unthank family, who sold it to developers who arranged the layout of the streets and sewers. The houses were erected from what is now the Savannah Street area, leading out from the old city boundary at Chapelfield Road.
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When comparing early maps such as Faden’s with the later tithe map of 1839 and the first ordnance survey map from the 1880s, it is possible to see how the street plan follows some of the original field boundaries. Marlborough Place terrace on Rupert Street was built in 1867 following the sale of large parts of the land in this area of Heigham by the Unthank family. Numbers 78 to 88 Rupert Street survived bomb damage in the Second World War and encapsulate the expansion of the city in the nineteenth century from its medieval core to the present-day metropolis.
These houses are now universally viewed as central Norwich. The deeds to number 86 Rupert Street in Savannah demonstrate how restrictions on the design and look of properties were commonly imposed when the land was sold for development. Every dwelling house was to be: faced in the front with good white bricks to be covered with good slates and have iron gutters in front and sides (except as to shop windows) have sash windows only and should be placed fronting the said streets called Rupert Street and Church Street in a straight line on the building line. no workshop privy or outbuilding should be allowed to front the said streets the sides of every dwellinghouse should be coloured or as near as might be like the front.
No frontispiece porch should extend more than 18 inches from such building line and that every frontispiece porch or other similar projection should be made of wood or composition That no dwellinghouse should be less than 18 feet 3 in from the floor line to the top of the wall plate and that the floor line should not be less than 9 inches above the crown of the said streets. The deeds go on to state that certain activities were also to be restricted, the amount the houses could be let for should not be less than £9, no building or erection should be more than two storeys high and every gate was to open inwards. The Edwardian period prior to the First World War saw the various attempts to solve the problem of working-class housing.
Competitions and exhibitions were held with the aim of producing cheaper houses so slums could be cleared. Despite their egalitarian principles, most of these subsequently became centres for the middle classes, and had little impact on getting rid of city slums. Nevertheless, the idea grew and led to later building of council houses and new towns. The spread of a cheap suburban rail network meant middle-class families could live further out of town on cheaper land which, in turn, meant they could afford a bigger house with a garden, most typified by the semi-detached house. Working-class people could escape the worst areas of towns by tram and bicycle and some were able to afford to buy their own terraced house, with the very fortunate having their own privy. An example of this would be Mildmay Road in Romford, Essex, which has a mix of terraced and semi-detached houses, built outside the original village with easy access to a suburban railway line, the underground and bus services. Victorian terraced housing built on Marlborough Terrace, Rupert Street in 1867 to cater for the expanding population of Norwich.