The heavily painted wallpaper has come off well on this wall but I am still left with the original orange paper stuck to the plaster. It has only come off in very small pieces for me and it’s clear that the last person to wallpaper this room tried to remove it and was also unsuccessful.
Now for the hidden house history. When I was stripping this corner of the room I noticed that there were some markings under the paper. I realised that I was looking at the number 35. As I continued I saw that there was more writing. I was very careful as I scraped the rest of the wet paper away.
In pencil it says “Papered by L Johnson June 11th 1935”. The textured wallpaper I thought was Edwardian was actually from the 1930s. L Johnson (I’ll assume Mr Johnson!) had tried to remove the orange paper almost 80 years ago and decided to paper over it, writing this message before covering it over. I checked my house archives and this date is a month after Martha Baxter purchased the house, so I guess Mr Johnson was a decorator employed by Mrs Baxter. I doubt that Mr Johnson thought his work would last eighty years but it is now clear that not one person since 1935 has bothered to strip the wallpaper in this room and Johnson’s message has remained hidden all these years.
It’s one of my favourite discoveries so far. I wonder what other secret messages from the past this house might contain.