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Getting started on revealing the History of the Cottage

By Wendy the Other Half


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Sunday dawns. I know, I saw it. I have decided I’m too old for sleeping on a flat airbed. But waking up here is a joy, it’s like we’ve always been here, it’s home already.

So after coffee on the patio taking in the stunning views, I drag myself away to the kitchen to prepare the evening meal whilst listening to The Archers omnibus. I now decide it’s time for everyone else to get up and make a start, so I put on the bacon with the doors open (guaranteed to get my lot downstairs).

Where do we start? There’s so much to do but it’s all very exciting so we’re a bit like a dog with two tails.

We know that the plaster next to the front door needs to come off and we’d also discovered the paneling below it didn’t match the original paneling that had been used to divide the rooms up, so it’s decided that this shall be removed as well. We’re planning on leaving this stone pillar exposed. Lots of dust and mess later and ta da, a beautiful stone wall that just needs pointing.(I’m sure the Stuff Doer will go into all the technical bits about lime plaster etc. later).

ripping off pannel to reveal stone wall

Stone wall behind panneling ( Stuff doer notes "Just needs" in the above paragraph)

We then decide it’s time to investigate the upstairs living room and see what needs doing in there. We know there are some questions need answering as there’s a strange door in  the bathroom and nothing corresponding with it on the other side of the wall, so this is where we start. Strip a little wallpaper off to find the edges of the hardboard that we’re pretty hopeful covers all the walls, less wallpaper stripping you’d think, but you’d think wrong. Under the hardboard is many layers of wallpaper! Not just wallpaper but under all the layers  is a thick layer of CARDBOARD. Oh joy, absolutely hours of stripping. Even so this normally banal job throws up the odd surprise and we manage to retrieve a trade label applied to the cardboard.

old supply lable on backing cardboard and hessian coving panneling and door

Stripping back the wall paper to discover a despatch lable to (possibly) Ford and Sons of Flowergate, Whitby and hessian that covered panneling and a spare door.

So far, so usual. Then Stuff Doer finds something we didn’t expect, hessian stretched taught and nailed over the old door then wallpapered over. Not just that, but evidence that the old paneling is still there so stripping is resumed with renewed vigour. Yes, result, it’s all still there. Lots of work, but no wall skimming as we’d first imagined. This means this is a job for me (hey how did that happen?) no specialist skills required, just a straightforward restoration job.

But still, more surprises. Another piece of hardboard removed and reveals the man responsible for it (still can’t quite believe it wasn’t my dad as so many panel pins had been used) Mr William Nelson and son 1959 signed on the wallpaper. Luckily it’s been signed above the door which has been hessianed, so we’ll be able to remove it intact and display it for posterity.

We’re trying to date the layers we find, so please comment below if you have any ideas (click on the article heading if the comment box isn’t there).  More details will be over on idostuff.co.uk  site 

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