One of the things I am most excited about in my new house is that it has a cellar! How fairy tale is that?
When I first looked at it, it had been half-heartedly lined in black polythene, because its dampness had apparently caused concerns to earlier potential buyers. It looked as if it had been set up for dismembering a body. In fact I was told by the agent that the lounge flooorboards and joists above it had been rotten and replaced, but although some of the joists have been, the boards are clearly very old and the awful laminate on top was undisturbed, so I don't see how this could have been the case. Ironically of course the lounge floor is very sound, while the floor in the dining room was (in Jim's phrase) as rotten at a pear, and some.
It struck me that if your house is at the bottom of a hill, fairly near a big park, and built on clay, a cfompletely dry cellar is a bit of an unrealistic ambition. Trapping moisture in the walls behind polythene didn't seem very healthy at all. I am a great believer in that cure all, for wounds and buildings alike, of letting the air get to it.
So yesterday Jim stripped out the polythene, and took up layers of wet carpet from the floor; dug our mounds of wet bricks from the corner, enlarged the ventilation hole between the lounge and dining room under floor areas (the cellar is under the lounge, while the dining room floor is raised about a foot above the earth). With the airbricks at back and front of the house cleared a nice draught can blow through.
It will never be somewhere for storing rare manuscripts, but I think it will be ideal for beer.