“Penny, come and see what we’ve found in Room 2!” The builders were excited and with carpets removed, it was clear to see the box level with the floorboards which had been dropped into the floor of the bedroom. With three small pieces of wood carefully cut out to sit within it, anyone walking over it would have been none the wiser.
The box was right in the corner of the room, about 12” square and 18” deep with solid sides and a wire mess covering the bottom to stop anything in the box from falling through. The box had been painstakingly fitted into the existing wooden floorboards but for what purpose? As you can imagine, ideas buzzed around our refurbishment workforce. “If any of you ends up living in Hawaii for the rest of their days, we’ll know you got to it first and it was stashed full of gold!”
Back in 2015, I had invited a lovely lady still living locally to come for a cup of coffee and tell me all she knew about the Lodge. Her, her mother and sister had lived in Eastfield Lodge in the 1940’s. Her sharp mind and phenomenal memory served to recount stories of the property then and I wondered if she could throw any light on the mystery box. Well she could.
No treasures, no gold or hidden jewellery but a fascinating story all the same. When she was a child, the kitchen housed a large stove with 2 fires for the 4 ovens and 1 to supply hot water. The airing cupboard downstairs was always warm but her mother decided to have it piped upstairs into her bedroom to keep that warm in winter. The box was put in to pipe the heat upstairs.
As a result, all the workforce remain in Leyburn getting the total refurbishment of the main house completed for us to open up at the end of March so not a bad result in the end!!