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Builders find surprise message hidden in floor of 150-year-old Norfolk building

PUBLISHED: 16:11 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:46 17 July 2019

A note was found inside a packet of cigarettes that had been hidden under the floor. Picture: Richard Lines

A note was found inside a packet of cigarettes that had been hidden under the floor. Picture: Richard Lines

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Builders had a welcome surprise from 113 years ago as they completed work on an historic building in a Norfolk town.

A note was found inside a packet of cigarettes that had been hidden under the floor. Picture: Richard LinesA note was found inside a packet of cigarettes that had been hidden under the floor. Picture: Richard Lines

A team from DSM Construction Services were working on Tanner House, in Thetford, to turn the Grade II-listed building into nine, one-bedroom flats.

It has stood in the town for more than 150 years and throughout its life has been a youth and community centre and an adult learning centre.

Project manager Richard Lines, 42, was surprised by what they found.

He said: "We have been working in Tanner House for a few months.

A note was found inside a packet of cigarettes that had been hidden under the floor. Picture: Richard LinesA note was found inside a packet of cigarettes that had been hidden under the floor. Picture: Richard Lines

"The house had been left empty for a few years and hadn't been well cared for. As part of the renovation we needed to strip back all the walls and buried deep inside the floor was a cigarette pack and message."

The message read: "This house was restored by J. Holden Thetford for B Frost July 1906. Workman. Foreman Ezra Garr, John Bidwell, G. Halland."

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Because of the 1906 cursive handwriting the other names have not been legible.

Tanner House, ThetfordTanner House, Thetford

The pack of Player's Weights was discovered by builder Krystian Horojdko, who rushed to Mr Lines to show him what he had found.

Mr Lines added: "Everyone was quite excited. The packet was found under the floor boards next to the chimney.

"My initial reaction was how cool was this, a message from the past by a different team working on the same project. It gave me a deeper appreciation for the history of the house and the local area.

"We were very surprised at how good the condition was also.

"The builders were inspired to leave their own message for subsequent builders to find in another 100 years.

"We did consider returning the message to where it was left but more likely we'll give it to a local museum."

The team and members of the public, who have seen the piece online, are now trying to track down relatives of the builders from 1906 who may still live in the town.

Tanner House was bought by Tanner House Properties Ltd in 2018. The project is expected to be completed by October this year.

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