Researchers who have been discovering weird and wonderful objects hidden behind the walls of house and stuffed up chimneys are turning their attention to pubs.

Dr Ceri Houlbrook, at the University of Hertfordshire, and her colleagues have been documenting “concealed objects” as part of the Concealed Revealed project for many years, discovering stories of shoes deliberately hidden up chimneys, horse skulls under floorboards and mummified cats bricked up in walls.

The project is now appealing to pubs – and historic breweries – which may know of objects found hidden on the premises, or stories associated with the pub or brewery about objects being hidden. Houlbrook said that it doesn’t matter whether the object is bizarre or mundane, only that it has been found in an unexpected or unusual location, or appears to have been hidden deliberately. Pictured is a child’s shoe found with clay-pipes up the chimney breast of The Lamb pub, Greater Manchester. The shoe is currently on display on the fireplace in which it was originally hidden.

Houlbrook added: “Old shoes and mummified cats are just some of the obscure objects that have been found hidden away in buildings, from under floorboards to up chimney breasts. We still don’t know why these items were concealed. Were they intended to protect against evil forces? Were they meant to bring good luck? Or were they simply time-capsules? ‘The Concealed Revealed Project’ at the University of Hertfordshire is hoping to answer these questions, and we need help to do it. We’re trying to catalogue as many concealed objects found or displayed in pubs as possible, so if you know of any then please contact me.”

You can get in touch with Ceri Houlbrook at c.houlbrook@herts.ac.uk. Find out more about the project at theconcealedrevealed.wordpress.com/  and www.historypin.org/en/person/66740

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