The Development of English Building Construction

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Publication date: 1 October 2000



Hoxley, M. (2000), "The Development of English Building Construction", Structural Survey, Vol. 18 No. 4.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

The Development of English Building Construction

The Development of English Building Construction

C.F. InnocentDonhead (01747 828422)ISBN 1 873394 38 1

Those working in the conservation area, and indeed anyone with an interest in old buildings, will be delighted to hear that this classic, first published in 1916, has been reprinted. Innocent was an architect practising in the South Yorkshire area and this book was the first truly learned and well-researched study of English traditional construction. In his introduction to this 1999 reprinted edition, J.T. Smith points out that Innocent was the first to apply the method of research long used by German scholars known as Wort und Sache. This branch of linguistic science, literally word and thing, traces, historically, the parallel development of a root word and that of the particular object to which it is applied.

Starting from the most primitive forms of building, Innocent traces the development of construction through to the start of the last century. The chapters on the evolution of timber-framed buildings are particularly enlightening and the chapter on thatching is considered by many to be the finest account ever written on the subject. There are also chapters on walls (two), floors, slated roofs, doors, windows and chimneys. The age of the book is evidenced by the fact that in the final chapter, which is partly about new materials, cast-iron, concrete and lead are included!

Part of the motivation for originally writing the book was to provide a record of the many old buildings which Innocent was witnessing being pulled down. This re-printed version serves a different purpose and will be of great interest to those working today to conserve our remaining old buildings.

Mike Hoxley