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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

After many years of delay we've finally got round to doing a real proper job on our hall and stairs. We've started by stripping the much hated wallpaper we inherited, only to find three further layers below. 

There's what I think is fifties paper, there's a twenties or thirties paper and at the very bottom what I'm assuming is the paper that was put up shortly afer the house was completed in 1896.

At that point the hallway had no dado rail but the wallpaper was split between a floral design on the upper part of the wall, below which was a paper border, and on the lower part of the walls was a charming paper with repeated panels of a kingfisher and what I think is a godwit (but I'm guessing there). Each panel is about 12 inches in height.

Both papers seem to have been given a brown colour wash and then varnished. It's the very devil to get off. There are no satisfying big strips that tear away to ease the chore. This paper comes off in baby nail sized pieces - even when scored and Diffed.

I felt like a real vandal stripping it all off. Most of it was past saving, but we're probably going to leave one segment up with the two panels above, cover it with a protective screen and frame it. (If the plasterers can work round it next week). I painstakingly and very gently scraped off enough of the brown wash to reveal what you see above. 

I've got a photographic record of the other papers but this was my favourite.

I'm now wondering what other gems Harringay locals may have uncovered during their renovations

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Nothing so lovely on the walls, but a beautiful tiled floor in the front hall - underneath TWO layers of lino tiles and a carpet. Total nightmare to get the lino and gunky glue off ...

They're beautiful, great idea to keep them.

One of my favourite things about re-upholstering old chairs is uncovering interesting fabric, I found some beautiful silk velvet on this chair. It was very old and I couldn't keep it exposed, but I did leave it on the chair and covered it, so I know it's still there. I found something similar and made it into pipping.

Gorgeous! What a treasure
How lovely. Possibly not a brown wash. Clear varnish goes a yellowy brown with age. Especially if wallpaper pasteam put on top. They look like tiles of same era.
In the loft we found a half empty packet of Woodbines, some 1950s "glamour" magazines and a stuffed canary in a glass dome. Under the Lino in the scullery were very well preserved pages from The Mirror from 1952.
We have a built in cupboard at the top of the stairs that is original to the house. It had wonderful Art Deco wallpaper on the rear wall.

We found some newspapers from the 2nd WW in our attic, and under the floorboards on the top floor a crown - 5 shilling piece - dated 1887, which if it was dropped by one of the original builders in c 1894 would have been about a quarter of a week's wages so a grievous loss!

A nice find, a shame they were beyond recovery. On one of the older house-move programmes a man bought a period house in Brighton, he found the original Georgian wallpaper under several layers in one room and managed to save it. 

The people we bought out house from had stripped off 7 layers of paper in the hall, and the bottom one was a swastika design - apparently popular in Edwardian times, before it was co-opted by the Nazis.

Not quite on the same subject, but almost 50 years ago I had a house in Wimbledon (£5,000!).

Under hardened lino in one room there were sheets of old Evening Standards as insulation. 

On one of them was a first-night review - for a new play called 'The Mousetrap'.

We found all sorts of incredible things too... wall paper (much like you describe above... we have kept some also!), tiles at the front which we have also restored, marble fireplace upstairs, the original iron cooking stove from the old kitchen (pictured), newspapers and magazines under the carpet from 1956 (one of the renovation times) ... my favourite though was a sixties wallpaper which was behind the heater in the downstairs living room. We saved some and framed it (pictured)! Amazing colours and shapes... they don't make wallpaper like they used to! Well, they do, but its £1.2m a roll!

Fantastic - being an architect who works on listed buildings little discoveries like this warm the cockles



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