Treasure From My Garden

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: IMG_3068 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…

IMG_3071We 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.

IMG_3069Then we discovered this old enamelled candle holder, along with a whole host of old enamelled bowls, saucepans and a kettle, all rusted beyond repair.

IMG_3067Plus 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:

IMG_3066It 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.

Found Objects – Horseshoe

A few months ago, I mentioned in a post that we were digging out an old raised vegetable bed at the end of our garden, in preparation for a new garden room/shed and decked area. In the course of the excavation our daughter was pottering around, poking through the piles of earth and rubble for items of interest – coloured stones, bits of old pottery, a small plastic teacup all taking her interest. Then, more recently, she found this:

IMG_2311 It’s a horseshoe, obviously. At least, I think it is. Rusty, with most of the nails still in place, and surprisingly light. But it seems a bit smaller than the average horseshoe:

IMG_2315 As you can see, it would easily sit on the palm of my hand, and I’m not a woman with freakishly large hands or anything. So now it’s got me thinking. Our house was built in the 1930s, but before that this area was all forest, running along the valley to what was then a small village about two miles away.

I wonder whether it came from a small pony, perhaps belonging to a child. Or a dainty palfrey, mount of a lady. Or something else altogether. Potential stories abound. Whoever the mysterious rider was, it must have been annoying to have their horse lose a shoe in the middle of the woods.

And now, however many years later, it’s turned up again. So, horse-y bloggers out there, what do you think? Is this a rather small horseshoe? Or is it normal size? While I love horses, I’ve never spent any great amount of time with them, so would love to know more.