Our laundry/utility room is currently set up in the back bedroom (originally bedroom number seven), which used to be a servant’s bedroom. The other day I decided to sneak a peek behind the panel which had boarded up the fireplace probably since the 1950s. In the picture above you can see that I had already removed the panel but I restored it for the purpose of taking the photograph as I forgot to take one before I started. Imagine the board glued on and painted over, completely sealing the fireplace.
When I pulled the panel off there was about a foot of rubble built up in the fireplace – this would be a combination of dust and dirt, bits of the chimney masonry, soot, bird droppings and so on. I got a mask and gloves on and started to shovel the dirt out.
The fireplace is made of metal and has this lovely Art Nouveau style detail. I doubt it was painted purple originally so my guess is that it was perhaps the 1960s before the fires were boarded up. If you look in the shadows of the fireplace at the top left you may be able to make out a little claw hanging down. When I pulled on the claw the skeleton of a small bird fell onto the pile of dirt.