Whitby Holiday Cottage More Discoveries

By Wendy the Other Half

Monday dawns (flat airbed ensures I see it yet again) and I face another day of stripping. Stuff Doer has allowed himself to be talked into removing the only straight, sound wall in the house as an exposed stone wall on the stairs will look really nice. The only argument against doing this is that “It would have been lime plastered originally” but more on this later.

Wrecking (apparently they’re really called prise) bars in hands, work commences. Plaster board removed we find the stud work. Not new timber, but it looks like we’ve found the frame for the “hidden cupboard” and the date when it was removed. Beneath the stud work is gloss painted gypsum plaster and ,very helpfully, written on it a message from nearly 30 years ago “24/08/84 a sunny day, enjoy this house”. As the plaster needs to come off we can’t keep it so we take a picture which will be framed and hung where we found it.

hidden message on the stair wall

Hidden message under the plasterboard, "Enjoy this house".

Now for the dirty bit. We shut all the doors to try to minimise the impact on the kids and Stuff doer and child number 2 set about removing the plaster. When the plaster is removed there is evidence of a leaky chimney, soot stains where the wall meets the chimney, which is quite scary when you think how many years those gas fires must have been burning in there. We also find that the wall wasn’t originally plastered, but there are signs it was once painted. A bit of a scrub and it will look lovely.

I decide to take the kids to the shops, they’ve been really good and have seen a toy they want to buy, and I feel my shoulders need a break from the cardboard stripping. I can’t leave him alone for two minutes! We arrive back and the downstairs gas fire’s out along with the plaster on the chimney breast it stood against. Now this has thrown up another set of questions. We find a 50’s opening, above that a standard fireplace opening, a little larger and then evidence of an arch above that where a range would probably have been. So far, so normal. Above this though there is irregularity in the brickwork with the impression a triangular section has been infilled. If anyone has any ideas after seeing the pictures please get in touch. We’ve got loads of books out of the library, including ones that they’ve had to order in specially, but we would be grateful for any advice we can get. Up to now we’ve decided to go with the “Yorkshire Arch” as it will house a stove nicely then we’ll just paint the brickwork so everyone can see its past.

More on the fireplace – Investigating the Building’s History

Timber roof structure hidden behind panneling

Discovering more of the original roof structure in the bathroom

He’s still not happy! There are still rooms to be investigated. So, after dinner, the bathroom’s next. Now this is a surprise. Stuff Doer finds paneling on an exterior wall. The only stuff we’ve found so far are room dividers ie. our “walls”. It’s not in the best condition though so Stuff doer shoves a screwdriver through a hole and discovers that the bathroom can be a good three inches bigger than it is. This is just too tempting so he removes “just a couple” of pieces of paneling. This is hiding an amazing beam. We knew there would be one as there is one in the bedroom at the front of the house, but this has been plastered up to and gives no indication of the true size of the beam. I say beam, it’s more of an oak tree that’s been flattened off a bit on one side! It gets more exciting every day. What will tomorrow bring?


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