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What are these small recesses found all over our house? Any idea?

More info: We have just moved into this house in the south east of England and aren’t sure if these recesses have any specific use or purpose. They are all different sizes and depths and found at different heights in the walls. Any ideas would be great thanks 🙂

r/whatisthisthing - These small recesses found all over our house.

r/whatisthisthing - These small recesses found all over our house.

r/whatisthisthing - These small recesses found all over our house.

r/whatisthisthing - These small recesses found all over our house.

r/whatisthisthing - These small recesses found all over our house.

r/whatisthisthing - These small recesses found all over our house.

Little update: after a bit of research found out the house was built between 1976 and 1982.

Some of the answers:

1- There used to be open flame burners that connected to gas as a heat source in the early 1900s before forced air, and sometimes they would be set into the wall like this.

2- Are you thinking of the 1950s gas in-wall heaters? It is a possibility for at least one opening.

3- Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking of, although looking at a few of those they’re a little close to the ceiling for that, so maybe not.

looks like the niches used for whole house vacuum systems, but like the system wasn’t installed…

4- You may think they’re great, but you need a massive air pump (that’s what a vacuum cleaner effectively is) to create suction all the way through the wall cavities, so they’re using a lot more electricity to perform a worse job than even a Henry. They’re also really expensive, and a massive ballache if anything goes wrong with them. Even worse is if there’s a blockage and you have to bust the wall open to clear it. I’ve seen them in a lot of places, but most of the houses I’ve seen them in, they’ve been replaced with a normal vacuum cleaner cos there’s been a fault the owners don’t want to spend the price of a truck full of Dysons to fix.

5- There was a period in the late 70’s and early 80’s that gas powered hot air heating systems were installed on some new builds in the UK. I lived in a house on an estate called Forestdale bear Croydon that had it.

6- I had these in my previous UK house, they were from a previous warm air heating system. In my case they all connected to the same small cupboard that was central in the house, which would have housed the boiler originally, and vents on all four sides pointing into different rooms. The cupboard is now converted to coat storage, and we removed the vents and turned them into little storage nooks like these.

7- This is odd. Walls of houses in the U.K. are usually solid. We don’t have crawl spaces between rooms, they are just solid brick.How old is the house? 60s, 40s, Victorian, earlier (other times are available but these tend to be the most common)

8- 1920’s houses have a distinct look, often having bay windows sticking out and a square bay, 30’s and 40’s it was more common to build the bay in a trapezoid shape and then later years it was common to design it in a more rounded fashion, forming a shallow semi-circlular bay.Both Victorian and Georgian houses are often built with yellow stocks although Victorian houses included the occasional feature of red brick trims. The top floor windows on Georgian houses and architecture in general were almost always small and square often 3.5×3.5 feet with simple four pane designs separated by a simple cross frame. Victorian top windows are often as long as the bottom floor’s and typically have far more panes.Georgian roofs, especially in attached terraces are not gabled and often shallow pitched at two angles; Victorian roofs are often quite steep.

Maybe I spend too much time analysing buildings, but living in London, it’s hard not to ????

Different sizes, different heights on the wall and only downstairs – that pretty much rules out anything like a warm air system which would be all through the house and of regular size and height. Covering pipe or wiring runs also highly unlikely as the pipes/wires would be where the open inside of the box is. Question for OP: what’s on the other side of it, same thing or blank wall? Have neighbouring houses got them (would indicate been there since built and neighbour might know what they are)? My guess is covering up old ventilation spaces, but can’t think why anyone would vent between rooms (unless they’re all on outside walls?), only downstairs, and an odd way to cover them up.

Looks like a crawl space vent covering. You cover up the vents because of excess heat/cold air going through the crawl space

It’s definitely openings where an old heating system existed at one time. Especially where the wall texture is decorative, it would be impossible to patch. This was a cheap and easy fix.

The ones on the stairs could be for recessed lighting. I’ve lived in a home that was built in the 90s and the basement stairs had nice lighting similar to that sizeHowever the rest of the boxes pictured make me think someone just covered up old air vents and didn’t want to do the full job of taping, mudding and repainting.Oh boy, I would decorate these with fairy doors and small squirrels, toadstools and tiny gnomes and plants. There would be a whole theme!

Looks like heating outlets for warm air to pump into the rooms. We still have these in homes in Preston although they are slightly smaller than the ones in the picture. We eventually had to rip th.out and plasterboard them up when we moved to gas central heating. It was a messy job

Old hot air heating system vents. My grandparents house (built in 1970) had these, however they left theirs as the standard grates when they had the system replaced with central heating. Use the recesses to put decorations or something on.

We had forced air in a house built 1980. The vents were in the wall around a single column so perhaps the location could give a clue for these recesses.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment!

Read More: What are these glass things attached to the cieling? They’re all over the house by the windows. House was built between 2010-2015.

Have you ever noticed those small, seemingly insignificant recesses scattered throughout your home? They’re often tucked away in corners, lurking beneath staircases, or nestled in the walls, quietly blending into the background of our daily lives. Yet, despite their unassuming appearance, these tiny alcoves hold a myriad of stories and possibilities, waiting to be discovered. Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the mystery of these enigmatic spaces and uncover their hidden significance.

Chapter 1: The Intriguing Presence

From the moment we step foot into our homes, these small recesses make their presence known, albeit subtly. They may take the form of alcoves built into the walls, shallow nooks beneath windows, or even miniature closets tucked away beneath staircases. At first glance, they may seem like nothing more than architectural quirks, but upon closer inspection, their purpose—and potential—begins to reveal itself.

Chapter 2: The Architectural Function

While the precise function of these small recesses can vary depending on their location and design, many serve practical purposes within the home. Alcoves built into walls, for example, can be used to display artwork or decorative items, adding depth and visual interest to a room. Similarly, shallow nooks beneath windows provide the perfect spot for a cozy reading nook or a display shelf for potted plants. Even the seemingly mundane closets tucked beneath staircases serve a valuable purpose, providing additional storage space in areas that might otherwise go unused.

Chapter 3: The Historical Significance

Beyond their practical function, these small recesses often hold clues to the history and evolution of our homes. In older houses, particularly those with traditional architectural styles, these alcoves may have served more specialized purposes. In centuries past, for example, built-in alcoves were commonly used to house religious icons or artifacts, serving as a place of reverence and contemplation within the home. Similarly, closets tucked beneath staircases were often used to store household goods or supplies, reflecting the resourcefulness and ingenuity of past generations.

Chapter 4: The Potential for Creativity

In addition to their practical and historical significance, these small recesses also offer a wealth of creative potential for homeowners. With a little imagination and ingenuity, these seemingly ordinary spaces can be transformed into something truly extraordinary. A shallow alcove beneath a staircase, for example, might be repurposed as a cozy pet nook or a compact home office. A built-in alcove in the living room could be transformed into a stylish bar area or a cozy reading nook, complete with built-in shelving and comfortable seating.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

As we conclude our exploration of the small recesses found all over our houses, we are left with a newfound appreciation for these often-overlooked spaces. What may initially seem like nothing more than architectural quirks or practical necessities, upon closer inspection, reveal themselves to be rich with history, purpose, and creative potential. Whether serving as a place of reverence and contemplation, providing valuable storage space, or offering a canvas for creative expression, these small recesses play an integral role in shaping the character and functionality of our homes. So the next time you encounter one of these enigmatic spaces in your own home, take a moment to pause and ponder the stories it holds—and perhaps consider the possibilities that lie within.

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