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Emerson Park family find ‘30s artefacts hidden under floorboards

Amelia, Mark and Lauren McManus with the hat, shoes and old newspaper found under floorboards (Picture: Steve Poston) Amelia, Mark and Lauren McManus with the hat, shoes and old newspaper found under floorboards (Picture: Steve Poston)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
7:00 AM

Mark McManus was prepared for a shock when he lifted up the floorboards to rewire his Emerson Park home – but he got a little more than he bargained for.

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The discovery of a tea-stained 1930s newspaper, wartime helmet and children’s shoes were the fruits of his labours, and his young family are now keen to find out the origins of the artefacts.

“What I’d like to know--obviously this house was built in the 1930s, so the people who put this down were probably the first to live here,” said wife Claire, 41.

“To put such interesting things down, it was like they wanted us to find it.”

The newspaper, dated September 4, 1938 and priced at just two pence, features stories on its front page about British Liberal politician Walter Runciman meeting Hitler a year before the outbreak of the Second World War, a “starving man on a yacht”, and “battling gangs in Billingsgate”.

Mrs McManus said she thought the shoes looked like they were designed to fit a four- to five-year-old, and described the helmet as just fitting her youngest daughter, six-year-old Amelia.

Older sister Lauren, nearly nine, said: “My dad did the wiring and he found them. I saw the helmet and it was a children’s one. It was an oval and it was a metal colour like silver.

“It was a bit dusty so was a little bit brown.”

The St Mary’s Catholic School pupil added the newspaper was her favourite of the three finds “because it was really weird because it was interesting to read something for the past - I think it was ‘houses for £500’”.

The McManuses, of Osborne Road, now plan to donate the artefacts to Havering Museum, but first want hear from anyone who might be able to help them trace their home’s original occupants.

“I’m really interested and would love to find out who left this - just out of curiosity, you like to know who’s lived in your house,” Mrs McManus said.

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