| Last updated
A man in Devon was amazed to discover a secret cavern under his house, having drilled into his wall and found the incredible slice of history. The underground space is likely to have been sealed away for at least 50 years.
Jake Brown was doing some work at the Georgian property he'd just bought in Plymouth when he spotted a patch on one of the walls that had a different texture to the rest of it.
Curious to find out why, he 'grabbed a drill' and started making small holes in the surface, eventually making an opening large enough to get his head inside to take a better look.
Jake was surprised to find a huge area under the house, where he discovered items including paint cans and an old newspaper that suggested the cavern had been blocked up for more than 50 years.
Jake said: "I recently moved into a Georgian property in Emma Place.
"While having a lazy coffee standing outside the basement front door of the property I noticed a patch in the wall of a texture different to the rest.
"I also noted that the patch was the same distance from the coal cellar already exposed, currently used for storage.
"Curiosity and a little boredom got the better of me, after which I grabbed a drill and began working pilot viewing holes into the wall.
"Once I had made two holes, one for viewing, one for a torch, I peered through into the dark dusty expanse and realised that it was another cavern of sorts."
After clocking the eerie underground space, Jake decided to open the wall up so that he could climb down and explore further.
He said: "I proceeded to hammer out a larger opening through which I could get a better idea of the space, and if I should carry on making mess.
"Upon creating a large enough hole to fit through, I shone a torch into the dark, revealing the larger than expected space before me.
"The cavern had a lot of builders waste from another era, so I climbed inside to explore and take a closer look."
It didn't take long for Jake to realise the area was much bigger than he expected.
He explained: "I measured the rough area of the space and observed its structural integrity.
"I was pleased to note that the stone arched ceiling was in great condition and the expanse measured a healthy 5m deep, 3m high, and 3m wide."
In the strange space, the homeowner found piles of rubbish and building waste, and started digging through it to look for further clues.
He said: "Upon inspection it confirmed that the space had been covered up for many years.
"It had been used as an easy space, to hide the waste from renovating the property's roof, guttering, doors, and windows many years ago before being covered up.
"As I moved deeper into the cavern I began to search for evidence that would tie it to a grouping of years so as I could more accurately determine how long it had been covered up.
"In the dark I collected bottles, paint cans, and my golden find was the remains of a newspaper, though [it] was more comparable to mushy silt."
Jake took the CSI approach in order to finally get the mushy newspaper open to find a date.
He continued: "I laid the items I had collected out in the clear light to identify their age.
"The paint cans were extremely degraded but had enough detail to show that the labelling was of a 50s/60s era style.
"The bottles, after a quick wipe, were etched with detailing common also of the early 1900s.
"The biggest reveal was the newspaper, it almost disintegrated upon human touch, so a CSI style method was used to carefully peel back the congealed layers.
"I proceeded to run a warm bath and soaked the congealed brown mess in the solution for a period of time, after which tweezers and vibration were used to slowly work shards of the paper free while submerged.
"After as many fragments of the paper had been recovered as possible, I photographed while still submerged and removed what was salvageable for drying.
"I scanned through the jumbled pieces looking for dates or usable information to determine the era.
"There were little hints; the style of writing, no colour, picture style, currency and then finally a date!
"What was barely readable was the year 1964, this along with the other pieces of evidence fitted, meaning the cellar had been blocked up for over 50 years."
Jake decided to contact a historian he knew called Richard Fisher, telling him about all the evidence he'd found so that he could ask for guidance.
Richard said: "The whole area before then was a large hill called 'Windridge Hill' for obvious reasons.
"This was quarried away to almost high tide level, then the houses when built into the hole with cellars, undercrofts etc.
"However these early cellars, this one looks to be for coal, were built out not only underneath the pavement but out into the road.
"The load on the roads would have been much lighter than now.
"I have seen these places turned into wine cellars, a place to grow mushrooms, and if big enough, a 'grotto' type bathing area..."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read