Papers from the past uncovered during restoration at Howard House in Norwich
- Credit: Courtesy of Orbit
Wallpapers believed to be from the 18th century have been uncovered during restoration works at one of Norwich's most historic houses.
Contractors from builders R&J Hogg uncovered the series of 63 wallpapers when removing 1970s boarding during restoration work at the Grade II* listed Howard House in King Street.
Most of the wallpapers were obscured by sooty grime and only came to light after chemical and fibre analysis carried out by the team from Lincoln Conservation, experts in historic interiors based at the University of Lincoln.
The renovation is being done by Orbit, developers of the neighbouring £70m St Anne's Quarter.
Maggie McCann, Orbit's development director, said: 'The discovery of wallpapers and artefacts such as the 130-year-old letter found last year is very exciting.
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'Working with conservationists has been a very important part of our development at St Anne's Quarter to ensure any history uncovered is carefully recorded.'
Howard House was a grand summer home for Henry Howard in the late 16th century, and the building has stood empty for more than 20 years.
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Once the wallpapers have been dry-cleaned by a brush, they will be photographed by conservators. They will then be covered up with Japanese tissue paper, an impermeable membrane and wall finish protecting them from dust, while further research is carried out and logged with Orbit and Norwich City Council.
MORE: After 25 years, new life to be breathed into Norwich's historic Howard HouseLorraine Roberts, conservation technician at the university, said: 'The historic wallpapers will provide a better understanding of the ways in which Howard House was used through the centuries.
'As objects themselves, the wallpapers are a valuable record and source of new information regarding historic interior schemes; they inform us not only on aesthetic preferences but are evidence of changes in material technology and social history.'
Ruth Brennan, from Ruth Brennan Architects, said: 'It is unusual to have so many sorts of wallpaper from all ages on top of one another. The history of wall decoration from the 18th century onwards is in one building with hundreds of pieces in various sizes and scraps.'
The new St Anne's Quarter development will include more than 400 homes.