Yorkshire nostalgia: Historic finds at Oakwell Hall, Birstall

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CONSERVATORS working on Oakwell Hall, Birstall, which is closed at the moment for repairs and upgrading work, have discovered a host of historic items beneath its floorboards.

The hall dates from the 15th Century and was a strategic site during the English Civil War. It was also used as a backdrop in one of Charlotte Bronte’s novels, although the name was changed.

The Grade I listed hall has been closed for several weeks while contractors carry out careful work to upgrade its electrics and modernise its lighting.

The work has been painstaking, as great care has been taken not to damage the building. However, during the works, several discoveries have been made.

Workers have come across a coin from the reign of George III and an old horse-hair toothbrush, made of bone. It is understood they were both found underneath the floorboards. Other finds include the discovery of a blocked up doorway, which would have probably been used as a servants’ entrance, as it connected to the kitchens.

The upgrading work is set to take several more weeks, which means the hall will remain closed until it is complete.

Friends of Oakwell Hall chairman Nigel Hudson was given brief access to the hall in order to take these pictures.

He said: “The team working on the hall are taking every care to ensure nothing is damaged during the work. A maze of scaffolding greets you as you enter the hall. We’re confident our much loved hall is in safe hands.

“When the floorboards in the Porch Chamber were lifted, they revealed a George III penny and farthing, fragments of a clay pipe and a toothbrush. One or two other objects have been found which have yet to be identified.”