Why are straw roofs from 100 years ago so popular in England?
Seeing these beautiful “gingerbread” houses with original roofs, it seems that all of them are from the past centuries or even from some fairy tale. But in reality, such dwellings are the highlight and, one can say, the calling card of modern Britain. In the British provinces, it is still fashionable to cover the roofs with straw — just like a few thousand years ago. It is even surprising how this idea has not yet been picked up by modern Russian summer residents.
From the dwellings of the Bronze Age to modern cottages
On the territory of the British kingdom today, you can count about 60 thousand thatched houses – you will not find such a number in any other European country.
The practice of building houses with thatched roofs existed here several thousand years ago, when the local population built primitive hut-huts. Gradually, the houses became more and more perfect, but the roofs were invariably done as before. For this purpose, from time immemorial, they used most often dried long stalks of a special sort of wheat (for example, they did it in the south of England) or water cane (it is more popular in the eastern part of the country).
In the XIX century, due to the proliferation of new types of roofing materials (for example, tiles or roofing slate), as well as wheat degeneration, this tradition almost disappeared, and thatched roofs became associated with poverty. However, in the second half of the last century, the straw roofing fashion returned to Britain and swept the provincial population with a new force. Such buildings here are called thatched cottages, and the roofs themselves are simply thatch. Experts say that such roofs even in damp England can easily serve up to half a century. Moreover, nowadays, thatched roof is impregnated with special means that give a fireproof and waterproof effect.
Making a thatched roof is an art
In the UK, as you know, there are a lot of old houses, however, roofers have a practice of not completely replacing the roof, but simply covering the old straw layers with new ones. And so – several times in the entire history of the building, because some of the houses for 100-200 years. As a result, the roofs are multilayered and look thick, which looks very picturesque. Hence the association with the gingerbread house. However, if the old roof is completely bad, you have to remove it all the same, and such a replacement, as a rule, is done with hotel parts.
The very same technology of making straw roofs is very complex, and they learn this art for quite a long time (as a rule, from well-known, reputable craftsmen). Sheaves are laid tightly to each other, fasten, align with a special spatula and stitch.