The Woodhouse is back as the dignified representative of this latest underground themed post! UKurbex put the pictures below on their website showing the pictures they bravely took of the cellars of the now probably flattened Woodhouse, Hopwas(see earlier posts for more details) These photos are an invaluable testament as far as I know there was no interior inspection by English Heritage people. Without putting my neck out too much they must be the same 18th century´Ale cellars´ mentioned in 1770. It’s a double cellar with barrel vaulting complete with alcoves.
The cellars below the Woodhouse got me thinking about the fate of cellars below demolished buildings. What happened to the Woodhouse cellar? the woodhouse is probably now flattened, what I wonder happens to the cellars of these building when demolished?After having a look around at demolition procedures it seems that most are backfilled. Is this a thorough process?. I imagine that modern building regulations are pretty strict nowadays about not leaving any empty spaces below but you never know. Following this line of thought the older the demolition the more chances that the cellar hasn´t been thoroughly backfilled and erased and maybe some pitch black part of the cellars lies preserved below like an egyptian burial chamber.
Abe and Ernst entering a sealed abandoned farm cellar Tutankarmun style.
The chances of partly preserved cellars opens up a world of underground possibilities. Farm building where cellars were commonplace dating from the 18th and 19th centuries dot the landscape and many have disappeared for various reasons. Below is one case, Ashlands Farm in the Tamworth timehikes area situated in the eastern part of the Blog´s area above the River Anker.Its an area that has many abandoned sites, a post apocalyptic landscape below idyllic meadows!.
Above the location of Ashlands farm. Ploughing has left alone the mound of rubble, leaving the disturbed ground idyll for brambles and blackberries to the delight of my hunter-gatherer father below.
Above the rubble from Ashlands farm. The driveway with it´s soon to be fossilised trackways still connect the farm rubble with Ashby road. From looking at old ordnance maps the farm dates back to at least the late 18th century and looked quite substantial. It became a mound of rubble in the 70´s/ 80´s for reasons unknown, maybe something to do with the economic downturn. It´s a good candidate for an old cellar. Does it remain below partly intact, blackest black, a pocket of 1970´s air, with an assortment of antiquated farm equipment or maybe overfermented ciders in the dormant cellars? I´d like to think that’s the case! I can´t find any literature on investigating old cellars in the UK, although in eastern USA there are people who look for dips showing where root cellars were located dating back to colonial rural houses. In the absence of any literature on investigating cellars below demolished farm houses maybe could develop a manual. Locate the cellar entrance on old plans,maps or the best location for cellars, and start digging through bricks, concrete. Sounds like hard work maybe best to leave it a couple of hundred of years until they become valuable enough or futuristic archaeological tools are developed to see below ground !
On another note I´d just to write a big heartfelt thanks for all the support and bigupping from Bob from blog of local legend Brownhillsbob. It gets a bit lonely sometimes marooned on the island of Tamworth timehikes with just a couple of made up characters(Abe and Ernst) to keep me company so much appreciated!!