HistoricaLeigh; England Expects
In 1935 an article appeared in a local paper about a remarkable find in Old Leigh.
Mr Otto Vogelsang carried out a marine engineering business in disused cottages near the cockle sheds and had found a cellar below the sea level in the cottages, obviously used for smuggling. After stripping off about 12 layers of wallpaper near the entrance he discovered oak panelling covering the entire walls of the room thought to be over 300 years old.
The Cottage had previously been occupied by Edric Brewer the grocer who had been born there. Mr Brewer was interviewed at the time of the discovery and told the reporter that his father Samuel had formerly occupied the cottages. He said he was aware of the cellar and that he and his brother used to go down into it but it could not be used for anything because the water came up at every high tide. Samuel dug a hole in the corner to try and drain it but it did not work.
Among Mr Vogelsang’s finds was a truncheon which Mr Brewer suspected belonged to his grandfather who had lived in the house next door.
Samuel Brewer was a butcher and the houses were originally all one house possibly owned by an Osborne. Samuel built his shop and the slaughterhouse behind it and divided the buildings off into 4 tenements.
A month after the discover Mr Vogelsang made some more interesting discoveries and this is where a Nelson connection comes in. His newest find was a concealed cupboard behind the panelling. In the cellar under the stairs he found a commemorative medal of the death of Nelson bearing the names of his victories and the date of Trafalgar. There were also 2 cannonballs, one as large as a grapefruit and the other the size of a tennis ball. There are two such sized cannonballs in the Heritage Centre and young visitors are fascinated by these and amazed at how heavy they are.This article is by Carole Mulroney of Leigh Lives - www.leighlives.co.uk
To read all of Carole's previous article of the History of our little town, click here