Investigation of historic fabric – horse hair

26 October 2017

We discovered some interesting history while exploring the Jacobean Boston Manor in Hounslow, London.

During opening up works we found a section of the original lath and plaster ceiling which included horse hair within its mix. The section of ceiling may date from 1622 when the house was built. We had rough assumptions of the weight of the ceilings in the house and so we decided to measure and weigh the plaster to find its density. The results showed it weighed less than we previously assumed! This has added to our knowledge on the weight of historic building materials and helped us to accurately calculate how strong the floors are.