Revealing the Past in the Lounge

We have a skip brimming with plaster from the front room. The plaster dust has settled on everything, a thin layer can be seen in our hair, when we sneeze we send up a dust bowl. The old carpet, rolled up and pushed to one side has been sawed in half. The two halves have been dragged from the house by two people covered in dust, filthy as they come and squinting from the dust. What our neighbours saw would have been two shady looking people they didn't know - thanks to the dust, filth and masks - depositing what looked like two bodies in a skip. Now the walls are clear and ready for the plasterers to do their work but before they do, the past comes swimming up to meet us.

Stripping back plaster in old properties reveals secrets

We find the remains of the old door that went into the kitchen along with discarded lintels and what appears to be he last of some white wash.

The hidden architecture of old properties

There's even a door going into next door, revealing what we knew, that the two houses used to be one. Sadly, we can't use this opening as a cupboard, next door got to that a long time ago which we found out when we nearly went through the wall into their nick knacks and curios.

Blocked up stone doorways

Then there is the biggest surprise, hidden in the wall a series of stone steps, the original steps of the cottage, once in the front room have been sheered off with brute force and the remains of the steps move from left to right vanishing in a floor that went long ago.

Architectural archaeology.

We'd always suspected that steps had been there, we could see the ghost of them in the plaster after we stripped off the wallpaper and we know the steps where in the front room from the fact that coal was stored under these steps. You can see the dark stone under the steps, a dark triangle from where coal has been left in a heap. Stripping back each room reveals another hidden secret at Pig Row, doors that lead nowhere, windows long gone and roof lines built up over the years. We know one thing, Pig Row is a lot older than we thought it was. The original height of the doorways reveal that once this was a single floor dwelling, akin to a croft and that over the years this has been expanded upwards, outwards and even downwards into the very hill we hunker down in.


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