Restoration work at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich has revealed a cache of hundreds of Victorian objects, from champagne bottles to tennis balls – hidden beneath a bricked-up flight of steps.
The eclectic late 19th-century collection – which includes matched crockery sets, leather sports shoes, bowler hats and pickle jars – was found by workmen, and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) were called in to investigate.
‘This extraordinary cache has increased our material evidence for this period of the college’s history a thousandfold,’ MOLA ceramics and glass specialist Nigel Jeffries said. ‘It reflects the experiences of the officers and staff of the college from formal dining and tea drinking, to relaxing with alcohol, to sports and outdoor pursuits.’
He added: ‘The number of empty ceramic jars in the cache clearly shows that they owner loved Crosse and Blackwell jams and pickles.’
This is an extract, but you can read more about Greeenwich’s Victorian hoard in CA 270 – on sale now!