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  • Nicola

Primrose Hill: month two…

Are you wrapped up nice and warm? Let's continue our stroll through Primrose Hill with a block inspired by something this area is best known for: it's pretty, pastel-painted terraces. This was the location chosen for the Brown's home in the Paddington films, which we'll certainly be re-watching this Christmas.

Paddington (2014)

London is famous for its elegant terraces, but it was an idea they borrowed from the Venetians. The hurried rebuilding after the Great Fire of London in 1666 triggered speculative development far beyond the city walls. Limited at first to aristocratic families, grand, symmetrical terraces in the fashionable classical style were built around private gardens - the garden squares - to give their occupants the experience of living in a palazzo... if only a small slice of one.

photo credit: Today’s Quilter

At the same time, the development of sash windows - which slide open vertically rather than opening out - coincided with improvements in the manufacture of glass, which enabled those sashes to be taller, throwing light further into the deep interiors. Terraces were wildly popular and building continued apace over the next two centuries, housing every strata of society. Despite its present-day 'village' character, Primrose Hill was a nineteenth century speculative development, like many others in London.

photo credit: Today’s Quilter

When they were first built, many of those early terraces were covered in render, scored with 'joints' and painted with natural pigments in tan or warm grey to mimic expensive stone. By the nineteenth century, synthetic pigments and industrial paint manufacturing favoured uniform cream-painted terraces, which is still the norm in the smarter areas of the city. It's not entirely clear where the craze for painting individual houses in pastel colours originated, but the flurry of home ownership at the end of the twentieth century has encouraged a rainbow of painterly self-expression.

You can build your own London terrace and 'paint' it whatever colour you like with the block pattern in issue 82 of Today's Quilter. And if you're not joining us for the block of the month, you could make a single block: frame it to make a lovely, last minute Christmas gift.

Happy house building,

Nicola xx


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