SECRETS are literally being peeled from under floorboards and behind sheets of aged wallpaper at a South Yorkshire country house museum.
Hidden doorways, original floorboards and forgotten fireplaces have all been discovered at Cannon Hall, Cawthorne, near Barnsley, as it undergoes a major refurbishment.
Stella Matthews, visitors service assistant, said: “Old houses like this have so many secrets and the restoration work we have started in the dining room has uncovered some fascinating things.
The dining room is one of five rooms in the house being carefully restored, thanks to a £100,000 grant from the East Peak Innovation Partnership.
Workers from Dinnington-based building sub-contractor A Cumberlidge have spent weeks stripping away the old flooring and restoring the floorboards beneath, believed to be from the 18th century.
Behind the old wallpaper, rather than the plasterboard they were expecting, they found original wood panels and a secret doorway.
A fireplace and another secret door were discovered in a room adjacent to the dining room on the first day of work.
Pete Winterbottom, from A Cumberlidge, said: It’s been tough, but incredibly interesting. We’ve had to strip away the old floor using both machines and our hands at times, to make sure we don’t damage the original wood beneath.
“There’s been no ventilation either, because these old windows don’t open, but it will be worth it when it’s all done – it will look fantastic.”
The results of the transformation of the building, which dates to the early 1700s, will be open to visitors by Easter.
Stella said: “We don’t have plans of the original house, so the restoration is proving to be full of exciting discoveries.
“There’s bound to be more secrets hidden away in this house we’ll perhaps discover one day.”