CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Images which capture THE VICTORIAN ERA

 

 

 

Unconventional: Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman live a completely Victorian life at their home (pictured) in Seattle

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Unconventional: Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman live a completely Victorian life at their home (pictured) in Seattle

Dedicated: It started gradually but they became fully immersed five years ago after moving into their home

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Dedicated: It started gradually but they became fully immersed five years ago after moving into their home

The couple spend every day and night in authentic Victorian clothing - and Sarah even goes hiking in a corset

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The couple spend every day and night in authentic Victorian clothing - and Sarah even goes hiking in a corset

'Even before I met Gabriel, we both saw value in older ways of looking at the world,' academic and massage therapist Sarah, 35, writes in a personal essay for Vox.

'He had been homeschooled as a child, and he never espoused the strict segregation that now seems to exist between life and learning.

'As adults, we both wanted to learn more about a time that fascinated each of us.

'But it took mutual support to challenge society's dogmas of how we should live, how we should learn. We came into it gradually — and together.'

Sarah wears a corset all day, every day. Gabriel, a library and information science academic, wears authentic gold-rimmed 19th century glasses.

Their home, built in 1888, is equipped with oil-powered lamps, and doesn't have an electric fridge or oven.

Clothes are washed in a bucket of room-temperature water.

For entertainment, Sarah reads 1890s editions of Cosmopolitan, or the couple go for a cycle ride on their pennyfarthings.

They both see the pursuit as academic research - far more intense than any sociological study they have encountered on the subject. But it is also a lifestyle.

Sarah on what her and Gabriel love about the Victorian era

 

They married in 2002 Over time gifted each other Victorian items, such as these clothes

They married in 2002 (left) and over time gifted each other Victorian items, such as these clothes (right)

For entertainment, Sarah reads 1890s editions of Cosmopolitan, or they go cycling on their pennyfarthings

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For entertainment, Sarah reads 1890s editions of Cosmopolitan, or they go cycling on their pennyfarthings

They both see the pursuit as academic research - far more intense than any sociological study they have encountered on the subject. But it is also a lifestyle. Gabriel modeled his workout gear on Victorian cyclists

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They both see the pursuit as academic research - far more intense than any sociological study they have encountered on the subject. But it is also a lifestyle. Gabriel modeled his workout gear on Victorian cyclists

After one year of wearing a corset every day, Mrs Chrisman said her waist went from 32 inches to 22 inches

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After one year of wearing a corset every day, Mrs Chrisman said her waist went from 32 inches to 22 inches

'It's a life that keeps us far more in touch with the natural seasons,' Sarah writes for Vox.

'Much of modern technology has become a collection of magic black boxes: Push a button and light happens, push another button and heat happens, and so on.

'The systems that dominate people's lives have become so opaque that few Americans have even the foggiest notion what makes most of the items they touch every day work — and trying to repair them would nullify the warranty.'

Speaking to Daily Mail Online two years ago, after publishing her book Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught me About the Past, the Present, and Myself, Sarah insisted she and Gabriel still meet up with friends to discuss academia, or go hiking - in their Victorian clothes.

'I manage hiking quite well,' she told Daily Mail Online. 'I modeled my outfit off a photo of Fay Fuller, the first woman known to reach the summit of Mount Rainier in 1890. She was dressed in an "immodest" climbing outfit of her own devising.'

After one year of wearing a corset every day, Mrs Chrisman said her waist went from 32 inches to 22 inches, she experienced fewer migraines and her posture improved. 'And honestly, the corset lets me know when I'm full! I don't have to worry about eating too much.'

 

Sarah insists they are the lucky ones as they do not take modern phenomena for granted Sarah insists they are the lucky ones as they do not take modern phenomena for granted

 

Sarah insists they are the lucky ones as they do not take modern phenomena for granted

They spend time with the friends they have always had. They have been subjected to abuse from others

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They spend time with the friends they have always had. They have been subjected to abuse from others

Friends are also supportive. 'They are intrigued,' explained Mrs Chrisman. 'The wonderful thing is, our friends are friends - our interests are still the same.

But her desire to delve further into the Victorian lifestyle, and wear a corset every day, seems to have the public divided.

'People have mixed reactions,' she admitted. 'Some are enthusiastic and positive. The other day an old man ran out of a restaurant to tell me I made his day, he said: "You look beautiful."

'But there are perfect strangers who find what I wear such a point of contention. Some women scream oppression -- that I choose to wear a corset. But I focus on the positives. I don't find it restricting at all, in fact I'd venture to say that it's liberating to live how I want to!'

Writing for Vox, Sarah reveals some of the more aggressive reactions leveled at them:

'We live in a world that can be terribly hostile to difference of any sort. Societies are rife with bullies who attack nonconformists of any stripe (...) We have been called "freaks," "bizarre," and an endless slew of far worse insults.

'We've received hate mail telling us to get out of town and repeating the word "kill ... kill ... kill." Every time I leave home I have to constantly be on guard against people who try to paw at and grope me.

'Dealing with all these things and not being ground down by them, not letting other people's hostile ignorance rob us of the joy we find in this life — that is the hard part. By comparison, wearing a Victorian corset is the easiest thing in the world.'


Our image of the Victorians is too often of a repressed, conservative, starchy, uptight and blinkered people. They were allegedly so prudish they even covered their table legs, were harsh to women and children, vicious to those who refused to conform and determined to entrench privilege.

In fact, such an impression could not be more wrong. The Victorians were people of vision, insatiably intellectually curious, wedded to the idea of progress and determined to improve their own lives and those of others.

They were the first meritocrats, opening up opportunities to those with the brains and qualities to exploit them rather than them being awarded simply according to social status.

The Victorians were wedded to the idea of progress and improving their own lives and those of others. Pictured: Workers start the new Stockport Viaduct, which became the biggest brick structure in Europe

The Victorians were wedded to the idea of progress and improving their own lives and those of others. Pictured: Workers start the new Stockport Viaduct, which became the biggest brick structure in Europe

Harnessed to phenomenal intellectual, physical and moral energy, and often (albeit in an age of profound religious doubt) informed by a deep sense of Christian purpose, their vision helped transform Britain from a fundamentally medieval country when Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 to a startlingly modern one within just four or five decades.

Certainly, there was resistance, but they overcame it relentlessly.

By 1880 education — the key to all progress — had been made widely available. Equally significantly, women’s rights had been extended. Conditions in factories and mills had been properly regulated. Jews had been allowed to sit in parliament, and religious minorities were allowed to teach in universities. And, of course, working men had been given the vote.

The list of achievements seems endless. From the 1830s, railways had criss-crossed the country, opening it up to people in a way that had never been possible before. Rowland Hill’s penny post began in 1840.

Sanitation had been greatly improved. Slums were cleared and new, healthy housing for the poor had been built in many cities.

The middle class expanded and, with it, the commercial and residential areas of towns. University colleges, schools, churches, libraries and museums sprang up all over the country.

Above all, the capital city — London — became a showpiece of modernity, with a building boom that included the Palace of Westminster, the Albert Hall, the Law Courts, St Pancras Station and the Natural History Museum, all of which remain beacons not just of the Victorian age, but of our nation, recognisable around the world.

But in 1840 the prospect of such advances appeared impossible in an unhappy, poor, fractious country.

A worldwide slump in trade put mills, mines and factories on short time. Many people were laid off, and in the summer of 1842 matters were so bad, with even the workhouses running out of resources, that riots began and the militia was called out.

The Victorians' vision helped transform Britain from a fundamentally medieval country when Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 to a startlingly modern one within just four or five decades

The Victorians' vision helped transform Britain from a fundamentally medieval country when Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 to a startlingly modern one within just four or five decades

Yet the country was turned around within a couple of decades. In what is a lesson for today, this had little to do with state intervention, and much to do with the energy, intelligence and determination of the people.

All government did was to enable entrepreneurs, businessmen, visionaries and philanthropists to transform the country.

A collection of brilliant individuals, usually motivated by little more than the desire to make things better, were allowed to get on with building a more prosperous and more equal future.

First, the Victorians took steps to free up trade and ease communications. To the outrage of the landowners whose party he led, Sir Robert Peel, the Tory Prime Minister from 1841 to 1846, cut import duties on corn, ostensibly to ensure cheaper food for the restive masses.

As a result, the idea of free trade caught on. And Britain’s mills and factories, combined with its world-beating merchant fleet, were perfectly positioned to capitalise on the export boom that this deregulation brought.

The wealth this made helped create a new, large middle class whose red-brick villas still adorn the suburbs of thousands of British towns and cities. But it also trickled down to the working class, who demanded better housing and education as they became less poor.

Those things, too, were enabled by the State, not provided by it.

William Gladstone’s government of 1868-74 ensured that a school place was available to every child up to the age of 12. Most of these schools were run by the Church of England, or other religious denominations and voluntary groups.

Attendance did not become compulsory for a further decade, and until 1892 parents were expected to pay a nominal fee — 3d or 4d a week, usually — for their children’s place. Although governments came, belatedly, to realise how vital the education of children was for the nation’s progress, both Liberal and Tory administrations firmly believed that it was the voluntary sector’s job, with support from the State, to provide it, rather than the State doing it directly.

In the mid-19th century cholera epidemics, such as we now associate with the Third World, were rife in British cities. One that occurred between 1848-49 killed 52,000 people. Until the 1850s nobody understood that the disease was waterborne, and so continued to pump sewage into water that would be drunk.

After the ‘Great Stink’ of 1858 — when in that year’s hot summer the Thames smelt so toxic that MPs regularly fled the Commons chamber with feelings of nausea — the Government supported London’s parishes in enabling a great network of sewers to be built by the engineer Joseph Bazalgette along the Embankment and through the West End and the City.

The Victorians were the first meritocrats, opening up opportunities to those with the brains and qualities to exploit them rather than them being awarded simply according to social status

The Victorians were the first meritocrats, opening up opportunities to those with the brains and qualities to exploit them rather than them being awarded simply according to social status

Support: The Government helped London's parishes in enabling a great network of sewers to be built by the engineer Joseph Bazalgette (pictured) along the Embankment and through the West End and the City

Support: The Government helped London's parishes in enabling a great network of sewers to be built by the engineer Joseph Bazalgette (pictured) along the Embankment and through the West End and the City

Other towns and cities followed London’s example. Mortality rates and the incidence of diseases tumbled — an important factor in the rise of the United Kingdom’s population from 11 million in 1801 to 41 million in 1901.

All these people had to be housed. So Benjamin Disraeli’s government from 1874 to 1880 passed the Artisans’ Dwellings Act, which enabled local authorities to clear slums and invite private developers in to build new homes for workers. Birmingham was the first major city to use this legislation to great effect, and others soon followed suit.

And a truly prosperous country needed to move its people and its goods around. The coming of the railways in the 1830s changed everything in this regard, and again the Government made development as easy as possible, streamlining legislation that allowed the building of lines between major cities, and using new companies legislation to head off a wave of fraud and irrational speculation that threatened to bring the new industry quickly to its knees.

With the railways, people were no longer tied to working within walking distance of their homes. And residents of inland towns were able to eat fresh fish, delivered straight from the sea, for the first time.

Free up trade: To the outrage of the landowners whose party he led, Sir Robert Peel, the Tory PM from 1841 to 1846, cut import duties on corn, ostensibly to ensure cheaper food for the restive masses

Free up trade: To the outrage of the landowners whose party he led, Sir Robert Peel, the Tory PM from 1841 to 1846, cut import duties on corn, ostensibly to ensure cheaper food for the restive masses

Iconic: London became a showpiece of modernity, with a building boom that included the Palace of Westminster, the Albert Hall, the Law Courts, St Pancras Station and the Natural History Museum

Iconic: London became a showpiece of modernity, with a building boom that included the Palace of Westminster, the Albert Hall, the Law Courts, St Pancras Station and the Natural History Museum

Yet for all these advances, half of the population remained disadvantaged. Women could not obtain a divorce without an Act of Parliament, however barbarically their husbands behaved towards them, and any money they brought to the marriage became their husband’s property.

No wonder one of the leading philosophers of the age, John Stuart Mill, described the condition of women as ‘subjection’ and as akin to ‘slavery’ — ironic when the head of state from 1837 to 1901 happened to be a woman.

A vigorous group of feminists — including some quite prominent men, such as Mill and the eminent Cambridge philosopher Henry Sidgwick — determined to start to put these matters right. Divorce courts were established from 1858, and by the 1870s property law had been reformed so that a wife was no longer her husband’s chattel.

The women’s suffrage movement, often considered an Edwardian phenomenon, had its roots in the 1860s. One of its supporters was Florence Nightingale, a disciple of Mill, and sympathetic MPs tried from 1868 to secure the vote for women.

William Gladstone's government of 1868-74 ensured that a school place was available to every child up to the age of 12. Most of these schools were run by the Church of England, or other voluntary groups

William Gladstone's government of 1868-74 ensured that a school place was available to every child up to the age of 12. Most of these schools were run by the Church of England, or other voluntary groups

Women also demanded higher education. Colleges for them were founded in London in the 1840s and by the late 1860s women were beginning to storm the ancient citadels of Oxford and Cambridge, with Cambridge’s Girton College being founded in 1869, and Newnham shortly afterwards.

Oxford had its own women’s colleges by the early 1880s. Graduates of these institutions (though neither university would until the 20th century allow women to be admitted to degrees) founded and staffed girls’ schools — notably the famous headmistresses Dorothea Beale, of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, and Frances Buss, who founded the North London Collegiate School for Ladies.

This supply of well-educated young women not only made it harder for governments to refuse them the vote, it also made it harder for professions that were male strongholds to refuse to admit them. The pioneering doctors Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sophia Jex Blake (who eventually set up a medical school together) blazed the trail, but only after having pursued their studies in Europe.

The fight was a long one. Even after Garrett Anderson had qualified and been registered by the General Medical Council, it changed its rules to forbid any other women from following her — an act of discrimination that soon had to be reversed.

As with so much else, all of these institutions for the education and improvement of women were founded with charitable or private money.

In an age when taxation was minimal (Gladstone, indeed, tried to abolish income tax altogether), it was far easier for the under-taxed rich to follow Christian precepts and engage in philanthropy.

The greatest Victorian philanthropist was, indeed, a woman. The heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts built churches, established (with the help of Charles Dickens) a refuge for prostitutes, funded schools in Devon, built a hall for market traders in the East End (for which she was dubbed ‘Queen of the Costermongers’), funded public parks and, above all, built modern, clean apartment blocks for working people all over London, most of which still stand today. Gladstone had her given a peerage in recognition of her generosity — though she was barred, as a woman, from sitting in the Lords.

Octavia Hill, best known today as a founder of the National Trust, began her philanthropic career assisting her mother in voluntary work among the urban poor in London as a girl of 14. Later, having hardly any means of her own, she raised money from private donors (notably John Ruskin) to turn decrepit properties into housing fit for human beings.

Florence Nightingale used a fund raised in her name to build a training school for nurses, greatly raising standards of medical care

Florence Nightingale used a fund raised in her name to build a training school for nurses, greatly raising standards of medical care

Charitable societies, not the state, helped co-ordinate the relief of poverty, the better to ensure that help went to deserving and not undeserving cases.

Florence Nightingale used a fund raised in her name to build a training school for nurses, greatly raising standards of medical care. And there were great male philanthropists too — notably George Peabody, the American businessman who showed his love for his adopted country by building apartment blocks for working people that still stand today, and Thomas Holloway, who made a fortune selling quack remedies to a people who as they prospered became more hypochondriac, founded not just a magnificent university college for women — Royal Holloway at Egham in Surrey, one of the finest buildings of the 19th century — but also a mental asylum for the middle classes.

Today, vast amounts of public money, and a vast bureaucracy, would be required to achieve such monumental things — and they still would not do half so well.

In their buildings and in their institutions, but also in establishing values that we take for granted, the Victorians are still with us. They invented the world we live in, and we should be conscious of the debt we continue to owe them for laying the foundations of our way of life.

Above all, they proved how a troubled and struggling country could be transformed almost beyond recognition with astonishing speed — not by state meddling but by liberating the natural energy, inventiveness and idealism of its people. It’s a lesson today’s politicians would do very well to learn.

 

   
 

 

 

 

 

 

Images which capture the fashion of women in London and Paris over a century ago

 
 

Street blogging may be considered to be a modern phenomenon, but a series of images unearthed by Kensington and Chelsea Libraries prove that the practice may date as far back as the early 1900’s.

The Library service has published several wonderful images by the late amateur photographer Edward Linley Sambourne, who was also the chief cartoonist for Punch, which give an amazing insight into the street style of the woman of London and Paris over a century ago.

Sambourne’s beautiful street photography captures the casual side of Edwardian fashion in a manner which is rarely seen

 

London, Cromwell Road, 12th July 1905 London, Church Street, 8th September 1906

 

 

Taking a stroll: A young woman pictured in Cromwell Road, London on July 12th 1905 in a stylish white shirt with a belt and an ankle-length skirt (left) while another woman, who Sambourne describes as a 'shopgirl' walks along Kensington Church Street, on September 8th 1906

 

London, Kensington, 8th September 1906 London, 15th June 1908 London, 30th June 1908

 

Time warp: A female cyclist fiddles with her hat in Kensington on September 8th 1906, a formally dressed woman in a white dress and a black handbag walks along the street on June 15th 1908 and a woman wearing a similar outfit strolls while engrossed in a book on June 30th 1908 (right)

In one image, which was taken in Cromwell Road , South Kensington in July 1906, a woman looks in the direction of the camera as she strolls along the street, dressed in an ankle length plaid skirt, matching jacket and a sophisticated hat.

In fact hats seems to be the most popular accessory of the woman pictured , and there is an eclectic mix of straw hats,  church hats and veiled hats amongst all of the photographs.

However there is a distinct lack of handbags, with less than half of the unnamed subjects opting to carry what has now become a major staple of modern fashion.

In another image, a woman is seen walking along the pavement in Kensington guiding a cycle with one arm and rearranging her enormous hat with the other.

 

London, Kensington, 4th July 1906 London, Cromwell Road, 1906

 

Two by two: Sambourne captures women holding books in Kensington on July 4th 1906 and a two friends walking together on July 4th 1906

 

London, Cornwall Gardens, 20th February 1906 London, Cromwell Road, 1906

 

Back to black: A woman looks in the direction of the camera as she strolls along the street, dressed in an ankle length plaid skirt, matching jacket and a sophisticated hat in Cornwall Gardens on February 20th 1906, while a second woman, also dressed in a dark outfit takes a walk on the same day

But perhaps the most modern image is of a young woman, who Sambourne describes as a ‘shop girl’, strolling down Kensington Church Street completely engrossed in a book.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the women of Paris are dressed slightly more stylishly than the Londoners with parasols being a common fixture.

While corsets and long, fitted dresses are undoubtedly the style of choice, there are also some shorter, below the knee styles on display.

 

Paris, 3rd June 1906 Paris, Tuileries Gardens, 4th June 1906 Paris, Place du Louvres, 4th June 1906

 

 

Parisian chic: These images were taken during Sambourne’s trip to the French capital in 1906 and show women, men and young children out and about

 

 

Paris, Helene du Bois, 4th June 1906 Paris, Helene du Bois, 4th June 1906 Paris, 5th June 1906

 

 

Stylish: Sambourne's friend Helen du Bois is pictured playing handball in a formal dress on June 4th 1906 (far left and middle) and a stylish woman walks up a concrete staircase in Paris on the following day

The Parisian images were taken during Sambourne’s trip to the French capital in 1906.

The cartoonist took up photography as an aid to his art and took many fascinating images of Victorian/Edwardian society.

His wife Marion wrote in her diary that photography had become as much an obsession as a hobby.

 

Paris, 4th June 1906 Paris, Rue des Rivoli, 5th June 1906 Paris, Champs-Élysées, 3rd June 1906

 

 

Eclectic style: Two women, who are most likely in mourning, dressed in black lace (left), another pair of women lead a young girl down a staircase in Rue des Rivoli and a group of women holding parasols and wearing eyecatching hats walk along the Champs-Élysées

 

 

Paris, Boulevard des Italiens, 5th June 1906 Paris, Steps to Rue de Rivoli, 3rd June 1906 Paris, 3rd June 1906

 

 

Street style:  A couple walk along the Boulevard des Italien on June 5th 1906 (left), a group of women walk up the steps of the Rue de Rivoli on June 3rd 1906 and two well-dressed women stand in the streets of the French capital on the same day

One of the UK's first bungalows that was built in the 1880s in colonial style goes on sale for £1million

  • Pleasaunce Cottage in Dormans Park near East Grinstead has been lovingly maintained since the 19th Century
  • The unique property has a large veranda, original oak panelling, four bedrooms and stained glass windows
  • It is one of the last surviving bungalows in Britain built in the same style as original properties found in India
  • In the Victorian age bungalows were the reserve of the wealthy Upper Classes were used to escape heat of cities

An Indian-style bungalow that was built in Sussex in the Victorian era and preserved to maintain its 1880s facade has gone on the market for £1million.

Pleasaunce Cottage in Dormans Park near East Grinstead has been lovingly upheld to how its first owners intended it in the 19th Century.

With wood paneling on indoor ceilings and a large veranda at its front, the unique property is one of the first ever bungalows built in the country.

It has gone on the market for £985,000, with historians eager to put it forward for listing to further protect its heritage.

Pleasaunce Cottage in Dormans Park in East Grinstead has gone on sale for almost £1million. The property is one of the last surviving bungalows in Britain that were built on the design of Victorian houses in India 

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Pleasaunce Cottage in Dormans Park in East Grinstead has gone on sale for almost £1million. The property is one of the last surviving bungalows in Britain that were built on the design of Victorian houses in India

An early photograph of the house shows how it has been lovingly preserved by its owners since its construction in the late 19th Century

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An early photograph of the house shows how it has been lovingly preserved by its owners since its construction in the late 19th Century

Inside, original oak panelling adorns the ceilings and walls. The double height living room is one of the house's main features with a quirky gallery serving as a make-shift office

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Inside, original oak panelling adorns the ceilings and walls. The double height living room is one of the house's main features with a quirky gallery serving as a make-shift office

A sketch of the property's main sitting room shows how its Victorian design has been maintained to how architects originally intended it 

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A sketch of the property's main sitting room shows how its Victorian design has been maintained to how architects originally intended it

Built in the 1880s by RA Briggs, known as Bungalow Briggs, the property is not all split over one level as modern bungalows are today.

At the time the term was used to describe small, country homes used by the wealthy upper classes as a retreat to escape the heat of pulsing Indian cities.

The design soon infiltrated British architecture. Briggs, a renowned architect, published his interpretation of the style in the 1891 book Bungalows and Country Residences.

A hallmark of the traditional Indian-Victorian bungalow was a large veranda at the front of a property like the one found at Pleasaunce Cottage.

Set over 2,542sq ft, the house has four bedrooms, four reception rooms and a cellar. The main sitting room is double height with a gallery and the original inglenook fireplace.

Its current owner has lived in the property for more than 30 years, having bought the house in 1983.

Unlike bungalows as they are referred to today, the property is set over three levels. The original term was not exclusive to one-storey properties, instead referring to mountain retreats favoured by the Upper Classes 

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Unlike bungalows as they are referred to today, the property is set over three levels. The original term was not exclusive to one-storey properties, instead referring to mountain retreats favoured by the Upper Classes

An architect's drawing of the property in the 20th Century. Historians are eager to put the house forward for listing to further protect its heritage

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An architect's drawing of the property in the 20th Century. Historians are eager to put the house forward for listing to further protect its heritage

One of the house's most distinct features is its large veranda at the front. These were a common feature among Victorian properties in India 

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One of the house's most distinct features is its large veranda at the front. These were a common feature among Victorian properties in India

The house's current owner said she fell in love with its unique design and layout when she bought it in 1983 and has tried to preserve its character

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The house's current owner said she fell in love with its unique design and layout when she bought it in 1983 and has tried to preserve its character

Other unique features which make the property so notable are two stained glass windows that have Victorian messages inscribed on them 

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Other unique features which make the property so notable are two stained glass windows that have Victorian messages inscribed on them

One of the four bedrooms in the house that is set over more than 2,000sq ft. Original oak and wood flooring has been maintained 

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One of the four bedrooms in the house that is set over more than 2,000sq ft. Original oak and wood flooring has been maintained

The property has four bedrooms, four reception rooms and two bathrooms, one of which is en-suite. It is being sold for £985,000 

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The property has four bedrooms, four reception rooms and two bathrooms, one of which is en-suite. It is being sold for £985,000

'It’s a great place, I fell in love with it 32 years ago and I still love it after all these years,' said Marian Parker, 60.

'The big drawing room is double height and has this little gallery which I use as a study. The room opens on to the veranda and is a lovely room with lots of light in summer but it also has an open fireplace and is really cosy in winter.

'It looks very different from the front to the back. From the front it looks like a normal bungalow but when you go round to the back it looks like a three-storey house because you can see the cellar.'

With two stained glass windows and an original oak panelling in the hall and lounge, historians are eager to put the property forward to be listed.

Dr Kathryn Ferry, an architectural historian and author of the book Bungalows, said: 'This is one of the earliest surviving bungalows in Britain and certainly one of the most important.

'What makes this one so significant is it was part of a bungalow settlement as if built in India on a hill station where the colonial British went to escape from the heat of the cities, sitting on their verandas in the cool breeze.

'There are a couple of bungalows in the development left but this one is the most original.

'Bungalows weren’t about single storey living, they were more of a leisure house and this exemplifies that. Bungalows aren’t just boring suburban homes.

'It is not listed but it ought to be. We can’t put it forward for listing yet in case it puts off buyers. But hopefully whoever does buy it will appreciate its importance enough to support a bid to list it.'

The house is being sold  by Hamptons International for £985,000 and has not yet attracted any offers. 

A view of the property from one of its gardens. It is set over almost one acre of land in the Sussex countryside in East Grinstead 

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A view of the property from one of its gardens. It is set over almost one acre of land in the Sussex countryside in East Grinstead

While the house is one of many of the same style built in the area by architect RA Briggs, historians have described it as one of the best remaining examples of a Victorian-Indian bungalow 

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While the house is one of many of the same style built in the area by architect RA Briggs, historians have described it as one of the best remaining examples of a Victorian-Indian bungalow