Renovation work in a historic townhouse in North Shields has revealed some astonishing secrets.
The builders discovered the former servants’ quarters of the Grade II-listed 18 Northumberland Place, hidden behind an unused door.
The quarters include bedrooms for male and female servants with small privacy closets and a main room, possibly to use when they weren’t working. The original wallpaper and furniture were stored inside.
Jules Brown, Historic Places Adviser for Historic England, said: “This is a fascinating discovery and shows what treasures lay lost and forgotten right under our noses.”
He urged those interested in the history of their house or local area to “have a rummage in your attic or talk to people who’ve lived in the area for decades and see what they can tell you.”
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A former residential home, 18 Northumberland Place is now the offices of chartered surveyors R.A Jackson & Son.
The renovation work also revealed a forgotten collection of old maps of North Shields, North Tyneside, Newcastle and Sunderland, some dating back to the 18th century.
The news come as North Tyneside Council launched the £1.9 million North Shields Heritage Action Zone project, a four-year programme of physical improvements, community and cultural activities aimed at revitalising the town’s historic Northumberland Square Conservation Area.
The project will include A Street Through Time, a programme of online activities aimed at celebrating the area’s history and collecting new memories from residents using film, photography, podcast and music.