I want to install an open fire in the lounge so this weekend, with Eli’s brother Yutlhiam, we got out the cold chisels and bolsters and started hacking away.
I was hoping that once we knocked through the wall I’d discover a neat Edwardian fireback, all ready to use, perhaps with a few loose bricks in there.
This is it before:
Getting the front removed wasn’t too difficult. We chipped away plaster until we could see the outline of a brick, being careful to stay beneath where the lintel should be. It helped that the old outline was clear in the plaster.
Then it was just a matter of carefully hacking away plaster and cement around a brick. Once the first one was out the rest were easy.
The only thing to be careful of was to make sure the lintel was not removed or damaged – but that was always unlikely. In any case, as soon as the hole was large enough I could stick my head up and check the lintel was there. All good, so the rest of the bricks were removed and the house didn’t fall down.
A total surprise. Once we’d chipped away all the bricks and removed three bag-fulls of cement breeze blocks I was left with a clean hole, freshly plastered, and with the remains of a gas pipe.
Not what I’d wanted!
Clearly, the owners before last had ripped out the original fireplace and installed a modern gas fire in a minimalist rendered opening. I’m sure it looked quite nice at the time. It still does. But for restoring the old open fire it’s a pain!
Continuing to reveal. Now the arch of the lintel is visible.
The arch is in OK condition (a few chips) but there is a loose brick that fell out above it. Nothing a bit of cement can’t fix.
Going downwards is tough. It’s all solid brick with masses of very tough cement.
To be continued…