April 18, 2012

My House.

My house...
was built in 1863 and is 149 years old. Victoria reigned from 1837 - 1901, so this puts her firmly in that era. Most likely it was built for middle class families, without servants. There are three floors plus an attic and a small garden. We we are mid-terrace which means we share our side walls with our neighbors. It is solid yellow London stock brick (hanging stuff on the walls is a real commitment).

The lower ground floor...
houses our study, kitchen and a bathroom. In ye olden days it would've also been the kitchen, as it had easy access to the coal hole. The coal hole is just that - a covered, dinner-plate sized hole in the sidewalk outside our house that opens directly into the space below. (It's also a pub where Donal once saw Sir Ian McKellen.) Coal deliveries were dumped into this hole and then dispensed throughout the house as necessary. Until we got the seal waterproofed I could pop off the cover and poke my head out. A pretty fun trick for passersby... Of interest, the cover that's there is most probably the one installed in 1863. Our neighbor's had theirs stolen about a year ago, so rule of thumb says that it must be of some value or interest to someone.

Our back garden...
might hold possible remnants of an Allen Shed - a war bunker. Our neighbors have them but ours was replaced, under different ownership, with a palm tree and a fuscia plant. These Allen Sheds were a damn good idea - our street suffered bombing in WWII. (More about my 'hood in my next post.)

The main floor...
is our double reception room. In ye olden days, I would've been a lady, I would've called this a drawing room, and I would've accepted all my lovely visitors here (as opposed to my kitchen where we generally seem to congregate). There are two fireplaces, both of which work and both of which probably have original Victorian tiles (which I think are generally pretty ugly, but I'm not Victorian so what do I know?). The best parts of these rooms are the huge sash windows (ignore the God almighty drafts), the double height ceilings and the cornicing.

The upstairs...
is where we sleep. There's also another bathroom, if you're keeping track. I imagine it was also used as sleeping quarters for the Victorian families because, well, there's no where else to go at this point. (Unless possibly the attic, which I'm sure they'd never get planning permission for anyway.) There are two bedrooms which used to have a fireplace each, before they were covered over (we need space, not heat!). When we moved in, we peeled back the carpet to the original floorboards. I love them. They're a bit dry and wonky but beautiful. (We also peeled the carpet out of the bathroom because, well, gross - carpet in a bathroom!)

The attic...
freaks me out so I've never been up there.

We've lived in this home for seven years (.04% of its entire life). It's a good house. I hope the next owners think so too.


  1. Fantastic writing and very interesting read. The thought of the attic freaks me out too. Love the coal hole!

  2. Loved it, Andrea! Really related to a lot of your sentiments too (as a fellow expat). Thanks for sharing this virtual tour with us, someone else will be very happy there, I'm sure!