Over the years we have been lucky in finding a succession of folk to do the maintenance we cannot do- which is most of it. Currently our friend Chuck and his helpers John and Alan do the building and decorating work. A few weeks back Chuck noticed that a few of the bricks were decaying and so we asked him to replace them.
This process produced a rain of fragments and dust but also the discovery that the damaged bricks turned out to have something a bit unusual behind them. Namely…
Nothing. It turned out that the bricks removed were part of a single brick layer, not the usual double one. I went up the ladder to get a photo, found the Lumix was too big to fit through the hole, so went down to get my mobile to slip it inside to take what you might call a holie.
..or perhaps a handie. Let’s try that ‘taking a useful photo’ thing again, shall we?
What emerges in the subsequent pictures is the inside of a long-closed off chimney. Looking down the bottom appears to be covered in sand. The wall materials are covered by soot layers, but from the outside you can see that most of it must be brick. However Chuck pointed out that the bottom corner of the wall is actually stone, mostly hidden under a thin render. So that corner would be another section left from the earlier house that was almost completely destroyed in the 18th Century fire I talked about in an earlier post. The view upwards is less clear, with what looks like a rather puzzling metal grid visible near the top.
While we sort of knew there must have been a chimney there at some time is was interesting to actually see inside it. Unlike another closed off chimney in the house the chimney stack for this one is missing- or is it?
This is the wall above where the inside photos were taken. Notice the change in brickwork on the top left where we reach the gutter line. My guess is that when the house was first rebuilt this was a flat lead-covered roof, similar to the one that still exists out of shot to the left. If so the present sloping roof was probably added in the 19th Century when two generations of builders lived in the house. If you look very closely at the triangular brick section to the right you see that there is a point where the bricks do not interlock. I suspect that the builder dismantled the top of the chimney to take it down to where the new sloping roof would came and then just used the best of the bricks he had removed to fill in the little triangle of space left between the stack and the right hand wall. Not the neatest or most workmanlike solution but I suspect ‘quick and easy’ mattered more than style to whoever did the work!