Sunday, 19 May 2013

The writing's on the wall

I was doing some blog editing over the weekend and decided that this story, which I recounted earlier in a history post, really was such a lovely one it deserved a post all of its own.

Do you remember your grandmother using these tea cosies?


The ones I found at Hanworth were not quite so glamourous as this one, but the whole concept of some of the residents crocheting is one which really thrills me. I am guessing knitting and crotchet were the older days version of social media! At least it was functional.

Remember I have talked about Hanworth's hallowed halls?

Before fire

after fire

Well when we moved in the halls were not nearly as wide, they were cluttered with cupboards

They were not uninteresting cupboards inside (don't be fooled by the ugly mission brown exteriors). The Anglican church left lots of cups, teapots, cutlery, plates, old tablecloths, linen and , yes of course, the beloved teapot cosies.

I'm a little teapot

and my Hanworth cosy comes in pink...

or green
(this is my personal favourite - being the Green Cosy for the Green Lady naturally!)

But an even more exciting find lurked in the first cupboard on the left...

The wall being brick you see was only really visible once we removed the cupboards - see

Look how fantastic the hallway looked when those eyesore cupboards were removed. Since I loved the natural brick (and hated the paint which had been used to disguise them), we pondered about ways to bring the natural brick back:

We mulled over the many removal options and slowly gathered confidence to peel away.

And in that journey of discovery, look what we found inside written between the bricks in that cupboard:

A message on the wall!  Better than a message in a bottle. There was high excitement ! The previous tenants had told me about this and it was just like discovering something in the Harry Potter cupboard underneath the stairs (except that there were no stairs).

And this was Hanworth - not Hogwarts! 

But nevertheless the discovery was a moment of fabulousness!

You probably can't see it that well in this photo but what is clear is that it is a full sentence and was written in November 1890 (it s pictured on the middle mortar of this photo).
We have presumed that one of the numerous Heath children might have written it as the words seem to jump out at us that "Mamma and Dotti ...are coming home". As this was likely very soon before the whole family were to return to England,  it was obviously a significant time for the writer.

And a very exciting find for us.  As we had worked so hard to protect the inscription from the paint stripping, you can see how the fire, whilst peeling all the protective coating, did actually leave this patch of the wall alone. We were so relieved!
Now it is here to be preserved for another 123 years at the very least, hopefully longer.
Might just go and get that tea cosy now and make myself a cuppa - happy Monday everyone
Aren't some people so clever!
x HH


  1. Love a knitted tea cosy!
    Cannot wait to see the HH tea cosies.There is a fantastic store down in Wynnum(Bay Terrace)called The Collective.
    They have beautiful art & a lot of knitted pieces,gorgeous!
    Ps you might like this blog- The Irish Aesthete
    Old Irish historical properties.He has a book called Luggala Days:The story of a Guiness House.
    An 18th century estate owned by the brewing family...sounds interesting!!!!!
    Enjoy your cuppa,Im home with tea & head cold. X A

    1. Oh A get better soon and I am going to check out The Collective. Thanks for the blog recommendation. Will go and check it out now.Does sound intriguing! Get some tea into you and put lemon in it - my nonna says lemon is like the cure for everything! Think she is likely right. HH

  2. I hope you wrote a message of your own for the next generations to discover one day. We have found messages on brick walls when renovating and have added our own. It is a real treat to find!

  3. How great to see you found them too. What did yours say and what a wonderful idea to add to it - going to steal that for HH - thank you so much for sharing . X HH

  4. I miss the cup of tea of tea that was made in a teapot with a cosie, it kept the pot hot & you had real tea leaves in it instead of dust in a bag! Need to get inspired & drag the teapot out again. How exciting finding the writing on the wall, It would look good with the the outside part of an old frame to go around it, so it is a little feature that could be admired & read. (I know I am just full of bright ideas LOL ).

    1. Leonie already thought about how to frame it - thought about Perspex but I love your idea of the frame. Thank you! How many must have lived there and never knew this little gem which was in the cupboard! No longer the case I assure you. Everyone will know. Maybe I can do flashing lights and music (just kidding on that one!)

  5. I love the message on the wall. When you live in an old house I think you can often have experiences of time overlapping like this.
    On the matter of tea, we have proper tea at our house, in a teapot with a cosie. It's a totally different world to the teabag!

    1. I agree MR. I love your blog - it inspires me - what an amazing story. I am about to load the cosy shots of the teapot and that which came with it. I think I will do as you suggest and make tea in it this week in honour of this great tradition.

  6. Thanks for another great story HH. I definitely agree with preservation but more so with a reply! It's so ... history in the making!Gorgeous brickwork too (not to mention the photos!) As for tea, I too have a pot everyday (of tea that is). It's quite ceremonious and provides a moment in the day to re-centre. Tea bags just don't allow for that. But I do not have a tea cosy so you have inspired me to find one. Maybe I'll have to book a ticket to the Mother Land to find one.

    Love love love the blog, HH. Really enjoying all your stories of this wonderful House and it's new life with you.


    1. Thank you so much for your enthusing comments. Have you found that tea cosy yet? I am about to write another post and you will find the tea cosy has found its way all by itself into a photo shoot! It may well become the inanimate star of HH. Nothing thrills me more than someone enjoying the blog - a million thanks, x HH