The house that time forgot: Hundreds of antiques discovered in country mansion where little has changed in 100 years
Auctioneers discovered a treasure trove of antiques inside The Hermitage
They discovered wine from 1914 and Champagne from 1919
Also discovered family photographs spanning almost 100 years
Contents of the house will be auctioned in 1,500 lots
By ANTHONY BOND
PUBLISHED: 16:00 GMT, 5 June 2013 | UPDATED: 21:41 GMT, 5 June 2013 / http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2336354/Hundreds-antiquities-discovered-Northumberland-country-mansion-The-Hermitage.html
Antiques: Items untouched for almost 100 years were discovered amongst the 28 rooms in 18th Century mansion The Hermitage in Hexham, Northumberland
But few could have imagined the secrets which the 18th Century building holds inside.
The mansion, called The Hermitage, in Northumberland, has been described as the house 'that time forgot'.
When auctioneers entered the home recently they discovered a treasure trove of antiques dating back 100 years.
Wine from 1914 was discovered along with Champagne from 1919. They also discovered a copy of a 1938 magazine as well as family photographs spanning almost 100 years.
Andrew McCoull, managing director of Newcastle based auction house Anderson & Garland, said: 'Time had stood still and the house took on the qualities of a museum. It was a once-in-a-career experience.
'The Hermitage must be one of Hexham's most important and certainly the most hidden home. Thousands will have driven past its entrance, totally oblivious of this fine mansion house.
'The children's toys in the nursery had been left intact. There were christening gowns and rattles sent from London, and charts kept by the children's nanny.
'In the cellars were unopened Champagne bottles from 1919, some in their original tissue paper and packing cases, and 1914 wine.
'Cosmetics and pharmaceutical items, from the 1920s and 1940s, crowded the medicine cupboard. There were diaries and household accounts giving insights into a bygone age of servants, while fishing and hunting records spoke of house parties.
'Clothes, including military uniforms, were hanging up as if they had just been taken off.
'In the library there was a copy of a 1938 edition of The Field magazine in the rack and there were family photographs spanning almost 100 years.
Secrets: The cellars of the house included unopened Champagne bottles from 1919, some in their original tissue paper, and wine from 1914
The house had been let by owners the Allgood family in 1922 to Brigadier General Hubert Horatio Morant, who had married Isabella Helen Coppin Straker in 1914.
Their three children, Doreen Shirley, who died earlier this year, Alice Bettine, who died in 2008, and Major John Locke Straker, who passed away in 1971, all remained unmarried.
The contents of the house on the edge of Hexham, described by Mr McCoull as a 'treasure trove', will be auctioned in 1,500 lots at Anderson & Garland's Newcastle base from June 18-21.
Stored away were also Brigadier General Morant's diaries and letters to his wife from the First World War.
'What was striking was the enormity of it all, the sheer quantity of memorabilia and ephemera which would normally have been thrown out and which told how a family in the inter-war years lived, and what they did,' said Mr McCoull.
Impressive: Thousands of people would have driven past this stunning house over the years, but few could have guessed about its treasures inside
'Items no longer required were neatly wrapped in newspaper, tied with string and stored in the extensive attics. The contents offer us a rare glimpse of life in the inter-war period.
'Only once in a career are you fortunate enough to see a home such as this which has been inhabited but - highly unusually - also left alone to this extent.
'With the sheer scale of the property, the family's possessions could be stored in different cupboards, rooms, lofts and buildings and little was ever disposed of.
'As such, stepping into The Hermitage has been like stepping back in time. The sisters were characters and involved in the community.'
Simon Morant, a cousin of the family, said: 'Following the death of Brigadier General Morant and his wife, their son and two daughters stayed at the property until they also died.
'I knew the two Miss Morants, Doreen and Bettine, and had the opportunity to go around the property. That said, even I was not aware to what extent their goods and belongings had accumulated.
'We have taken some of the more poignant things from the estate, including letters from 1840 between my family and theirs, but we very much hope that the remainder of the belongings go somewhere where they will be appreciated.'
For sale: The contents of the house on the edge of Hexham, described as a 'treasure trove' will be auctioned in 1,500 lots in Newcastle
Ancient: Pharmaceutical items from the 1920s crowded this medicine cupboard
Hidden: This now empty 18th Century building had become a time capsule. This image shows the inside of one of the rooms