A Secret – and ‘Alice in Wonderland’
As you may know we are reconfiguring and renovating our cottage just now. Built circa 1850 I know the old place has many secrets but I had no idea of one secret we learnt just a couple of weeks back.
In one of the bedrooms (a long skinny room that looks a zillions times better now the builders have changed the shape) was a built-in cupboard (possibly a built in wardrobe at one time) which we kept stationary and ‘rubbish’ in.
After removing the door and shelves my son noticed one wall was a bit ‘odd’ so asked his guys to take the wall down and then re-plaster the wall. As the wall came down guess what???
To their surprise there was a small wooden-plank latched door which led into a small room. In the room was absolutely nothing. No treasure and – more to the point – no bones.
The footprint of the cottage is higgledy-piggledy: we had no idea this room existed, having owned the cottage for 19 years. I am betting the previous owner didn’t know either.
Unfortunately, the secret room is unusable due to it’s position; the bedroom will become our new bathroom and the old bathroom will become a bedroom, so the location of the shower would impede access to the secret room.
How I would love to travel back in time and ask whomever reconfigured the cottage many years ago about the history of the room.
My g.son, M, said, ‘Do you think they used to lock children in there because there is string on the latch, so they may have pulled the string to be allowed food?’.
Who knows? The cottage was a needle-maker’s cottage and they certainly had young children living and working here…
We still have the original forge and bellows in an outbuilding. The well, probably used to quench the needles, was another secret our son, V, discovered about 10 years ago, when digging the foundations for the conservatory.
No wonder I love old houses – they hold so many secrets and memories and are simply fascinating.
P.S. The small door reminded me of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ so when my lovely running buddy, T, said to me today, ‘I’m not sure about doing a trail run this near to my upcoming marathon, in case I fall down a hole’, I wanted to laugh, ‘Are you Alice, then’, but I refrained because I know exactly what she meant. Running is a serious business…see my next blog!
N.B. For those interested in the history of needle making/social history see http://www.coulthart.com/avery/history-pages/needle-history.html