Late victorian fireplace or early victorian

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Late victorian fireplace or early victorian

Postby matthew.tomkins1@btopenwo » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:10 am

I have recently bought a Victorian cottage which I think dates from about 1850. the building has been extended backwards twice, once in about 1905 and again in the 1950's.

The original building would have had just two rooms downstairs, one of these (the back room) must have been the kitchen type area and possibly had a range.

I recently removed the 1950's tiled fireplace expecting to find a square fireplace behind it, matching the one upstairs which still has the original(?) cast iron hob fire.

What I actually found were clear signs of a fireplace with tiled cheeks, the tiles have been removed. I found some tiles in the back-fill behind the 50's surround and they were not very good. (Very thin, mass produced, multi-tile effect).

When I look at the actual masonary forming the tiled cheeks they do not match the bricks to the back or to the sides.

So here are the questions I am currently pondering;

Are the tiled cheeks a later addition? (Cottage circa 1850)
Can i remove this masonary safely?
Would this back room have had a range and what type? (difficult to say)

Any suggestions are gratefully received.

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Postby tim smedley » Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:14 pm


It is very hard to advise you without actually being there to see what is going on. That being said, the fireplaces were regularly built too big and then made smaller to reduce the fuel needed or to fit a new insert for fashion purposes.

It is therefor highly possible to have newer brickwork inside the hole of the original fireplace. The newer brickwork is very unlikely to be structural.

A number of things may help you work out what has happened:
- The original fireplace of the room downstairs is very unlikely to be smaller than the one upstairs (assumin one is on top of the other)
- ask your neighbours if they have ever looked in their fireplaces and see what they found
- any infill brickwork put in subsequently is lightly to be of poorer workmanship
- infill brickwork is likly to be simply stacked inside like a lining - the bricks of old & new will not interconnect

If you do decide to remove it and start again, do slow slowly and start on one side. If it all comes away easily - thats your answer! Just one thought before you pull it out, if you want to put in an insert of your choice then you may need/want the liner left there!

Hope this helps.

tim smedley
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Postby matthew.tomkins1@btopenwo » Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:18 pm

thanks Tim

Interesting. The bricks do not interconnect, they look newer, and there is no real order to the way they have been laid. I think I will approach with caution and let you know how I get on. :)


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