Glossary of terms to describe the architectural features you will see on this tour.



In classical architecture, this is the collective name for the architrave, frieze and cornice.


Usually a semi-circular glazed opening above a door. Can also be used, by extension, for a rectangular glazed opening above a door.

Georgian Architecture

From 1714 to 1830 (during the reigns of George I, II, III and IV) when the classical style and classical proportions became widely used.


The triangular upper part of the front of a classical building, also used over doors and windows. Not always triangular (traditional) but sometimes segmental (shaped like a segment of Terry’s Chocolate Orange), a pediment can also be broken, open and swan-necked.

Rubbing Brick

A rubbing-brick can be easily cut, carved and rubbed to be a particular shape without it losing its long-term durability. For a very long time it was the king of bricks.

Stock Bricks

The better kind of bricks used for outward facing walls. In London, stock bricks are often yellowish in colour as they come from the local yellow clay.

Window Arch

An arch transfers a heavy load sideways and downwards, which means you can get an arch that is flat and not necessarily ‘arched’ in shape.

Window Dressing

Not just an attractive display in a shop window, the window dressing can also apply to the decorative architectural features around a window.


Division of a space by regular vertical features, such as arches, columns or windows


Flat topped ledge with moulded underside, usually found along the top or near the top of a building.

Ground Floor/First Floor

For those of you not from Britain and haven’t yet been confused by our lifts, our first floor is not the same as the ground floor – it’s the one above!


Flat representation of a pillar.

Sill Band

A projecting horizontal band that connects window sills across the face of a wall.


Protective masonry or brickwork capping a wall (capping = put on top of).


The overhanging edge of a roof.

Great Fire of London

A terrible fire in 1666 that swept through the City of London. Despite many radical proposals to create a safer London, the city was reconstructed on pretty much the same street plan that had existed before the fire.


Wall used to conceal a roof.


In this instance, it’s the moulded frame of a door or window, but it can also mean the lowest member of the entablature (see definition below) in classical architecture.

Piano Nobile

The first floor of a Georgian house, containing the principle rooms.

Rococo Architecture

Also known as Late Baroque, this is an 18th century artistic movement which was light in style and rather graceful. Think lots of shelllike shapes and curves.

Oriel Windows

Bay windows which project from the main wall but do not reach the ground.