It started when I received a call from an elderly lady in Dereham who wanted her traditional open surround removed in favour of a modern gas fire. When arrived at her small Victorian terrace, I was astounded to see a huge marble and gilded surround monopolising the small sitting room. The owner explained that it had been in situ for 55 years and that her late husband, who had worked for Jewson’s during the 1950s, had acquired it during a clearance job. I agreed to take on the job and the marble fireplace became part of my stock.
Sometime after I was consulting with the new owners of Bylaugh Hall who had bought the property when it had been reduced to a ruin. The family wanted to restore their home with as much of the original architectural fixtures as possible and they asked me to advise them about sourcing fireplaces from the correct era.
My mind went back to the marble surround that I removed in Dereham. The demographic was right with the elderly lady living only a few miles away from the hall and some local research confirmed that the fireplace had been stripped for demolition during the 1950s.
When I viewed Bylaugh Hall I found the vacancy where the marble fireplace had been removed. It was obvious as the exact outline of the surround was apparent on the wall.
I installed the fireplace and it was back where it belonged.