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Confused by our Victorian internal walls – thoughts?!

12 December, 2018
last modified: 12 December, 2018

Hi all, we're currently getting structural drawings drawn up to remove the internal (load-bearing) wall between our living and dining room. We live in a standard two bed Victorian terrace in London.

We were advised to remove the plaster on a section of the wall so we could see how the wall is constructed. I expected brick, but I'm only seeing a horizontal timber. I've tried to remove more plaster but it's not normal 'plaster' and is very stubborn. Does anyone know how this internal wall is likely to be constructed? I'm intrigued.

Comments (10)
  • PRO
    Hampstead Design Hub

    Hi there! Usually it's brick. We recently finished refurbishment of victorian house and during demolition found great looking brick.

    Renovation and Interior Design of Victorian House in West Hampstead · More Info

  • Jonathan
    What height is that timber? My first thought is that it is a lintel- perhaps at one time there was a door or hatch there??
    I think you need to knock off more plaster to investigate further.
    lainey_hope thanked Jonathan
  • lainey_hope

    It's 1.4m up from the floor! Will try and knock some more off lower down to see if that reveals anymore info. It's more like concrete than plaster, horrible stuff!

  • lainey_hope

    I knocked a small area away underneath the wood and there is indeed brick. Noticed a few fine hairs though, and am a little worried it maybe asbestos, but not sure whether I'm worrying unnecessarily, but it's put me off knocking more away…

  • obobble
    As older houses were built before plasterboard was invented there is often a layer of coarse concrete-like render under the plaster top coats which was applied directly to the bricks. I believe horse hair was sometimes used to help bind the mix.
    lainey_hope thanked obobble
  • minnie101

    I think timber beams were quite often used as part of the wall structure. We had to take an external wall back in our living room due to dry rot (not from said beams!) and it had the same construction as yours. Horse hair was (and think still is!) used to strengthen lime plaster and prevent shrinkage


    lainey_hope thanked minnie101
  • lainey_hope

    Interesting, thanks minnie101. Did yours have horizontal and vertical beams? Wondering if I chip more off, I might find some verticals…

  • minnie101

    From memory they were just horizontal, however there's a large window on that wall which goes to the top of the ceiling. I think I had one about the same height as yours and then one at about 9ft

  • minnie101

    Just found this which may be of interest and now know the technical term for the structure :)


    lainey_hope thanked minnie101

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