1. The two reasons for tiling walls
There are two reasons for covering the face of a building with tiles of some sort: one is to weatherproof it and the other is to alter the appearance of it. The principle form of vertical wall-tiling is plane tiles which are exactly the same tiles as I use on the roof but hung vertically, fixed normally to a timber-framed building. A very interesting form of material came into use during the 18th century and that is what is commonly known as mathematical tiles.
2. Mathematical tiles are common
A very interesting form of material came into use during the 18th century and that is what is commonly known as mathematical tiles. Their use in Sussex became very, very common in the closing years of the 18th century and the first twenty or so years of the 19th century.
3. They are the same shape as brick
A mathematical tile is a clay tile which is the same shape as a brick. This was partly the reason they were used because in the 18th century to bring your house up to date you needed to have a brick face. To rebuild the front wall would have been expensive so the alternative was to cover the whole of the front face with mathematical tiles.
4. Mathematical tiles on bay windows
Towards the late 18th centuary a lot of mathematical tiles were used in Brighton on projecting bay windows where the bay was not carried down to the ground and therefore the bay was supported on the floor joists and therefore you wanted the material covering the bay window to be light so you would have used mathematical tiles in that form.
5. They come in all sorts of colours
Mathematical tiles came in all sorts of different colours, colours that bricks would have come in – reds and greys and whites. They also produced mathematical tiles with a black-glazed surface.