Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Five Doors. Four Handles

Leading from the office is the hallway; the layout is not the conventional one associated with many Victorian terraced houses. This house and adjoining terrace was built as accommodation for the City Barracks. My house (or so I’m told) belonged to the Surgeon – with the adjoining smaller cottages occupied by the Regimental band. 
The hallway is pretty featureless, I suppose as a military property, decorative detail was not an important consideration; it is impossible to know what the original layout may have been, as I suspect walls have been removed and things remodelled over the years. As well as the staircase there are five doorways in total, so this is the only space in the house that is devoid of furniture.
We replaced quite a few of the door handles, although the door leading to the office has never been completed. This composite image shows the imprints of the past door furniture.


  1. Well I'm truly now blown away by this post, P.
    A completely different past narrative on the Surgeon's House to take in, just as I was getting comfortable with the house being totally yours and reflecting your self and your daily life within it.
    I'd like to think that the surgeon's house would be the 'best' of the terrace due to his high professional standing. You say that yours is a house, and the others cottages - do you have a bit of extra garden too, I wonder?
    The door knobs are a great collection, and I like the fact that you've left the doors' scars of previous wounds (sorry couldn't resist the parallel) from door locks and handles.
    A regimental band of cottage dwellers - how brilliant.

  2. Nice 'scar/wound' analogy!
    Yes, this house is larger than the rest of the terrace, and as it is double fronted this means I do have a wider plot. I agree with your theory that the Surgeon would have a slightly elevated position, and therefore larger house; however I read that the Officers accommodation was within the Barracks and the lower ranks lived outside, so this is a little confusing; perhaps I need to do more research? Rumour also has it that there was a mortuary in the back garden, but I’m not sure I believe this! At the opposite end of the terrace there is a house called Drummers – a good clue to the occupants…

  3. I'm glad you have confirmed my thoughts r.e. size of house and plot. I guess that perhaps the Officers lived inside the Barracks as they could have been served at High Table or had servants on hand for various duties etc. almost like traditional universities or colleges. I have no proof of this though, pure speculation!
    A mortuary in the back garden - that's absolutely fantastic. I have a Cemetery - but that's only at the end of the road. Gosh, are there any deeds you could look it up on - or may be you wouldn't want to know?

  4. A - Good theory re Officers - that makes sense to me.
    In terms of the mortuary, I would rather not know - enjoying the cemetery/mortuary coincidence though!
    Talking of gardens, we also know that there was a well in the front garden, we tried to find it but were unsuccessful!

  5. Ok I will cool it on the mortuary, even though I'm rather excited about it - but maybe that's because it's yours and not mine!? Not sure.
    A well in the front garden? Do you think it was a wooden construction so was taken down and then the stone/brick well walls were just filled in? Would be difficult to locate.
    All we've found in our garden (if you can actually call it that) are a few old brick walls, plus the old privvy walls, and lots of smashed up small pieces of blue and white china.

  6. Not sure about the well details, but it may have been connected to the windmill opposite in some way. A mortuary and a well does seem quite bizarre now that I think about it...

  7. Yes, I was wondering if it the well was connected to the windmill - would seem to make sense to have a water source nearby.
    By other explanation, which is just batty, would be that it was a wishing well that people would throw money in for good luck en route to being seen by the Surgeon!


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