A little while ago I posted about a horseshoe we found while digging out the back of our garden in preparation for some building work. It was an odd horseshoe in that it was quite small and light, so I shared it in the hopes someone might be able to shed some light on it.
And quite a few of you responded, thank you 🙂 Interestingly, a couple of people commented that it might not have been a horseshoe, but rather a horseshoe shaped heel tap for a human shoe. Looking into it further, this seemed entirely plausible. Then we did some more digging and found something that made it seem even more probable. This is what we found: If it’s not immediately obvious, this is a last, or a metal sole shaped stand that shoemakers use when making or repairing shoes. It’s very rusty, but still incredibly heavy, and adds credence to the idea that our little horseshoe was in fact meant for humans, rather than horses.
But that’s not all we found…
We also found this old piece of metal, also very heavy. And, upon researching images of old shoe repair sewing machines, it seems very likely it came from one of those.
Then we discovered this old enamelled candle holder, along with a whole host of old enamelled bowls, saucepans and a kettle, all rusted beyond repair.
Plus this sweet little bottle, along with several other old bottles. A quick Google search reveals it to be a Manon Freres perfume bottle from the 1940’s – my daughter thinks it’s just adorable. There were also the remains, sadly smashed, of several cut glass vases, strewn amongst the soil.
And finally, we found this:
It looks Victorian to me, like something you’d see along the line of a roof. Interestingly, underneath all the earth and the remains of the old air raid shelter, we did find several rows of old red bricks. Our house was built in the 1930’s, and I’d been told that the area where we are was, prior to that, all forest. But the bricks and this find seem to indicate to me that there might have been a workshop or some other sort of building here beforehand, perhaps even the mysterious shoemaker’s shop. We are quite near to the Grand Union Canal and the old paper mills where paper was first industrialised, so it wouldn’t be surprising for there to be other industries around the area to support the workers. Of course, it could just have been an old shed or one hell of an outhouse, but I think it might be worth a search through the old town records to see if I can find out more.
So there you go. Treasure from my garden. It’s probably not worth anything, other than curiosity value, but it’s been wonderful to discover.
Wow! I should keep on digging, you have a veritable storehouse of treasures there.
Well, we’ve poured a concrete slab over part of it now, but I think I might do a bit more digging on the other side, see if I can find anything else 🙂 It’s so interesting, I love old things and the stories they hold.
That really is quite a haul you have already – fascinating to think how it all got there.
Yes, I think I need to do some more research and see what I can find out.
This is fascinating! Amazing that you can find something just waiting in the soil under our feet; hidden histories of the world. It’s almost like time traveling, but with the puzzle of piecing the bits together for yourself. Very cool.
Thanks, Shaun – that’s a great way of describing it. It is a bit like time travel, trying to imagine what was there before. I think it’s really fascinating too – whenever I go to museums, it’s always the everyday items that interest me, I love thinking of the people who owned them, the stories of their lives 🙂
Couldn’t agree more… For instance, the tools you found… To think that they were probably made around, if not just under, 100 years ago and used by someone back then… Yet here you are holding them in your hands. Amazing!
I love that bit too 🙂
Amazing! A real life ‘Elves and the Shoemaker’ story. We’re renovating our garden at the moment and all we seems to find id builders rubble probably from where they built the house in the 80s and had the habit of throwing it in to make the garden. I know for sure our house was built on the site of a builders yard that also served as a funeral directors so I’m quite glad that’s all we’ve found! Good luck with the gardening 🙂
Goodness, yes, thank goodness that is all you’ve found! 🙂 Good luck with your renovations too – it’s a messy hassle until it’s finished, isn’t it?
And I’m really amazed at the things we’ve found, I had expected rubble as well, to be honest, so all this treasure has been a real bonus.
Especially with wee ones. Mine’s almost two and wants to be out in the garden all the time which is tricky if there’s a large hole. We’re inbetween stages at the mo so she’s safe for now 🙂
Oh yes, that’s always a worry when renovating. Mine is nine, so she’s pretty good now, but she’s getting annoyed she can’t go out and do gymnastics on the lawn at the moment. Still, she thinks all the treasure we’ve found is really exciting 🙂
Wow, great finds – really interesting! 🙂
Thanks, Simon! It’s been a fun ‘dig’ so far 🙂
It sounds like it can only get better!
Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.
Thanks so much for the reblog!
That’s so cool that the ancient aliens visited your piece of land. Sad that their robot lost his foot though.
Ooh, nice one Craig. Do I sense another story coming along? 😀
Someday. I’m swamped right now. I’m sure we’ll do that again. It was too much fun.
Oh yes, definitely 🙂 No hurry, I know you’re swamped, and I am a little that way myself. Let’s keep it on the back burner for now 🙂
Wow, so interesting Helen. Reminded me of something archaeological, like out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. 🙂
Thanks, Miriam. It is pretty cool, though we’ve not yet found anything truly old, ‘Raiders’ style 🙂 I do love imagining what was here before, though…
Wow. I love that you are finding these old things – treasures now. I used to love digging around old foundations in the woods as a kid. There was always something turning up.
Oh, that sounds pretty cool – I bet you found some interesting things 🙂 And it’s all treasure, isn’t it?
It really is – I love this sort of thing 🙂
Now that is übercool! So many stories, so much mystery…
And all in my little back garden! 🙂
The mystery is solved. 🙂 And what a haul of treasure! This is so cool!
Thanks, Sarah – it is super cool, isn’t it? Now I need to find out more info…
I think its incredibly exciting! I wonder about the lives of the people who lived there long before you. They are reaching out to you from the past. Gosh, Helen, you could write a wicked story out of this!
Thanks, Ali – it is pretty cool, isn’t it? Now I want to know more about what might have been here before our house was built. I can sense a trip to the local library, at least… I love this sort of thing, finding out stories from the past. Will definitely update if I find out anything else 🙂
I hope you carry on with the digging and I hope you find out some information on what once stood on the grounds, Helen. Just imagine what stories the people who once held these items could tell. And I wonder why they all ended up in your garden and what the story behind the owner is? Wonderful stuff. Wish I had been there with you when digging up this history.
Thanks, Hugh 🙂 I am going to do a bit more research and see what I can find out. It was really cool to see all the stuff, and I’d love to know the stories behind it all. Or, if I can’t find the stories, maybe I’ll have to write them. 🙂
Sounds like the perfect plan, Helen. 😀 I look forward to reading it.
Thanks, Hugh – hope the writing is going well 🙂
I’ve had a bit of a break, but am back on it now, Helen. Esther has got me writing a short Rom-Com 😱
Ooh, glad to hear it, Hugh. And a short rom-com sounds interesting, though I imagine it will have a patented Hugh dark twist somewhere in it? Happy writing! 🙂
This is so cool. I’ve not stumbled upon any treasures, but my brother found a Calusa Indian arrowhead when the drainfield for our septic tank was being built in the early 80’s. It was crazy because they were known to live around waterways and we lived 30 miles inland. It showed that at one point the area was covered in water.
That’s really cool! I love things like that which reveal hidden truths about a place. I’m finding now that where my house is was once a farm, so am wondering if what we found is the remains of an outbuilding.
Those are some odd blooms in that garden of yours.
Yes, they are a bit odd, aren’t they? Interesting though 😉
I’m looking forward to your appearance on Antiques Road Show or your post about when you dig up a body – whichever comes first lol
Haha! Yes, not sure I want to dig any deeper… 😁💀😀
Yeah you should https://youtu.be/sGSHIidlesQ
Haha! I was a bit scared to look at what you’d sent me 😀