Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Small clues

What I love about living in an oldish (1902-4) house, despite how battered and altered over time, is how you can find little indications of how it was in its infancy. Nothing very dramatic, like uncovering a hidden room, or a large expanse of wonderful early wallpaper; this isn't that sort of house, but just teeny things.

This little keyhole cover - more grandly termed an escutcheon - had to come off in order to fit the new shower room rim lock and salvaged door knobs.


It's a humble object, made of thin metal, probably costing a penny a dozen in those days.

I shall clean it up and use it elsewhere.


I could see that the door was once painted green, over its original brown varnish. That's the sort of small discovery that delights me.

13 comments:

Preseli Mags said...

I love our old house too. During refurbishment the builders found an old wooden shoe in the chimney, apparently it was tradition to offer the house gods a gift (shoe), food and money. The shoe went back into the chimney with an orange from the builder's lunch box and some pound coins.

In the house before this there was a boarded up fireplace. When we removed the board and rubbed the soot from our eyes we found we'd got a fabulous old fashioned cast iron cooking range. We cleaned it up and used it as a second cooker (much to my grandmother's disgust - she remembered them first time round!)

jabblog said...

Judging by the size of the hole, the key must have been quite substantial.

moreidlethoughts said...

When I was 21 my mother gave me the escutcheon from a door in our house. She said I'd had the key for years so I might as well have the keyhole!

judy in ky said...

I would love this about old houses, but I have never lived in one because my husband and I are hopeless when it comes to fixing and remodeling. I enjoy watching you do it, though.

frayedattheedge said...

The front door of our Victorian house had the bit that the key went in, but not the cover. I took it into a locksmith in Edinburgh and they made me a new one ..... I wonder if I have a photo somewhere (a 'real' photo, as that was in the 90s)

lovethosecupcakes said...

I'd love to live in a house with a history but ours was newly built when we bought it, so no hidden treasures to uncover here.

Dragonfly Dreams said...

What a delightful find, Rachel! I wonder how many more you might uncover before you say goodbye to it.
As for my house, since it was built in the 1950's the best find I had was discovering under the sink, that the kitchen had been bright turqiouse at some point. Yikes!

Dartford Warbler said...

Have you got the deeds to your house Rachel? It would be so interesting to find out who lived in your house in its early days. Our current house is relatively new (1970s) but our last one was the same age as yours. One day, an old man knocked at the door. He had played in the garden as a boy, with the children who had lived there then. It was wonderful to hear his memories.

HAZEL said...

That is gorgeous. though a secret room would be cool!

Dan said...

I'm pleased it's going to be used elsewhere. I love these little finds! We found some old bottles at the cottage, and lots of different layers of wallpaper (some are so old they're trendy again).
Dan
-x-

Marcheline said...

If it were my escutcheon, I'd get hold of an antique skeleton key, and then make a necklace out of them!

mountainear said...

Restoring a large late Victorian semi was like archeaology. We were putting back what the occupiers had taken out in the name of home improvements over the years - fireplaces, picture rail, deep skirtings and mouldings to doors etc. It was a fascinating process - we found wonderful early wall papers and painted walls - nothing good enough to keep unfortunately. One of the windows had been 'signed' by the children of the house - their names were scratched into the glass.

We found a cast iron bedstead buried in the garden - but that wasn't such a good find!

"Sunshine" said...

That's history for you. I have never lived in an oldish home, but I certainly know what is hidden behind my walls. We have lived in our home since 1972, long enough for history to have developed.

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