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Curious Finds at Anne Hathaway's Cottage

During some conservation work at Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the team discovers some interesting finds left by visitors: clay birds, newspaper clippings, and one mysterious photograph...

Amy Davies

Quite often when we undertake conservation work here at Anne Hathaway's Cottage, we discover interesting items that have been left hidden around the cottage by our visitors. Most often these are found wedged inside cracks in the beams of the cottage, but have also been found inside pieces of furniture. 

Clay Bird
A clay bird
Two Buttons
A button with misshapen holes

The painted clay bird and the button were found inside one of the bedstave/staff holes on the Hathaway Bed. We aren't sure of the age of the items, but the irregularity of the holes that have been punched into the button suggest that perhaps it’s not from the 21st century.

Two Newspapers
Newspaper clippings
Cadbury Wrapper
Cadbury Candy Wrapper

The newspaper clipping and the Cadbury's Fruit and Nut wrapper were found in a crack of a beam in one of the bedrooms of the cottage. After researching past Cadbury designs, we have deduced that this particular wrapper must date from the 1950s or 1960s, but we've yet to discover the date of the newspaper clipping.

Mystery Photograph

But by far the most mysterious find has been this laminated photograph that one of our cleaners, Debbie Lawley, stumbled across when it got stuck up the end of her hoover. It is unclear to us what the image is supposed to be, and even more mysterious is the orange stamp on the back which appears to show a figure with symbols all over their body (or perhaps these represent their organs). For what possible reason did somebody leave this behind in a crack in the wall? Is it a curse? Or a good luck charm?

If anybody could enlighten us here at the cottage as to the age of any of our finds or the purpose of the mysterious photograph, please let us know! You can email the team at anne.hathaway@shakespeare.org.uk.