The Story of Palmerston Villa - Unlocking the secrets

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The Story of Palmerston Villa
John Dick's Daughter
Unlocking the secrets
An extension is built
From Farmer to Landlord
The Last of the Paramors
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Unlocking the Secrets of the Villa

Only so much history can be uncovered from documents, no matter how detailed they may be. The story comes to life if it can be put in the context of a place, whether it be the wider environment or a specific road, house, or even room. Sometimes the story from ‘place’ spurs the search for the documented story. Thus was the case with Palmerston Villa.

Dividing_wallVery early on it became clear that the two halves of the house reflect at least two different building phases, separated by three or four decades. The earlier (on the right as  viewed from the road) is clearly late eighteenth century, while the other has distinct features of the early nineteenth. Furthermore the wall between the two halves (photo Whitewash_V_in_loftleft) is fully ten inches wide and must have been built as an external wall. When laying insulation in the loft space of the later part I discovered a whitewashed triangle on the interior wall’ presumably the only remaining indication of an earlier extension to the eighteenth century house. The photo on the right was taken in the loft and shows the whitewash of the extension. The thickness of the roofing material suggests thatch and that might also have been the original roof for the main part of the house.The permanence and erstwhile function of this extension can only be surmised.

So we can picture the original house, hipped at the Western end (as it is today) comprising two main floors, with a large cellar below and an equally large attic room above. The cellar was accessed through a trap door under the main staircase leading to a flight stairs. Another flight of altstairs provided easy access to the attic. The cellar stairs are in a poor state of repair, and the trapdoor no longer exists (there may even have been a door under the stairs). However the stairs to the attic are still in use.

 The downstairs room provided the main living area with a large inglenook fireplace complete with pot hook and salt shelves providing both cooking and heating. The extension probably accommodated laundry and scullery, and might well have provided a dry storage area.

The next floor would have been a large bedroom and the attic above would have provided additional sleeping accommodation. Light shone into the attic through a dormer window. I suspected that such a window existed. When renovating the attic I could see a discontinuity in the rafters which would indicate such a window. My suspicions were confirmed when I found this nineteenth century photo (left) which shows (indistinctly) the dormer window.


#1 J.P. Hollingsworth 2013-01-24 13:17
Interested to read about the Paramors. Can there be any connection made between them and the Paramors who owned a brewery in Margate in 1880s?
Best wishes,
#2 Jim 2013-01-24 14:22
Not that I am aware of. It would be interesting to try to trace all the strands of the Paramor family. I believe they originated from Huguenot refugees who settled in East Kent in the 17th century. There have been Paramor(e)s in Great Mongeham since the early eighteenth century, not to mention all the other Paramor(e)s in East Kent.
#3 Grant 2013-10-08 04:53
Most interesting to only just discover my Grand Father Archer owned that historical property for just a little while and hence contributed to a tiny part of its history; not a Paramor though(!). But he decided to make a life for himself in Australia after that.

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