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.
Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine