Historical periods

Historical periods

Manchester fruit market

Travelling through Britain it soon becomes apparent just how remarkable a range of architecture survives from the Norman Conquest onwards.  Most villages, towns and cities have a rich mix of buildings dating from different periods. These aren’t neatly arranged: medieval churches abut twentieth-century tower blocks; Tudor town houses lean next to Victorian department stores; and neat Georgian terraces terminate with Art Deco cinemas.  But which is which? How can we describe them? More importantly, why are they so different, when all seem distinctly British?

So, select your time period, and get to know the chief characteristics of British architecture. Choose from the Middle Ages, Tudor and Stuart, Georgian, Victorian periods and the twentieth century. In addition, because Scottish buildings are so distinct, you can also compare architectural development north and south of the Border.

Extracts from the exhibition


Castle Rising

Visit castles, cathedrals, churches and moated manor houses - remnants from our medieval past.

Tudors and Stuarts

Little Moreton Hall

Encounter Elizabethan country houses, Reforrmation ruins and Renaissance masterpieces.


Craigevar Castle

Travel through 500 years of Scotland's distinct architectural landscape.


Bank of Ireland

Discover Baroque fantasies, Palladian villas, graceful terraces and crescents across the British Isles. 


Newcastle Railway Station

Explore the wonders of imperial and industrial Britain from the railways, through shopping arcades and to the asylums.

Twentieth Century

Canary Wharf Underground Station

Follow the highs and lows of urban growth, post-war planning and the dream to build skyward.


About the online exhibition

'How We Built Britain' is a major collaboration with the BBC


Images in the exhibition are from RIBApix, a growing database dedicated to providing you with exceptional and unique images from the RIBA British Architectural Library's collections.

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