“In 1997 eleven summer volunteers worked at the Kilns, but the outside staircase has not been replaced. A door on the north wall, near the east corner, has been bricked up. The fence on the west side has not been renewed, but the north fence has been partially propped up with scrap timber. The garden area on the south side is neat and bright; the strip of lawn with rustic pergola has roses neatly trained over it. I saw no sign of the new seating area mentioned in the Kilns Association fundraising leaflet. “The land north of the house is lower than land on the south and east of the house. The low brick wall along the north has been repaired; new bricks bring it up to its original height. Now it forms a deeply shaded planter about 5′ wide, 30′ long, and 3′ deep. The dirt in it is hard and untended; perhaps the work crew planted bulbs there for next year.
“According to Ordnance Survey maps, in Lewis’s day the walled strip next to the house was open-ended near the now-bricked-up north door. Thinking of how the house functioned from the 1930s until it was sold to the Thirsks, I speculate that in Lewis’s day the walled-in strip may have been for storing coal or firewood. There would have been easy access from the road for delivery, and easy access to the house via the now-bricked-up door. Maybe the Thirsks, having put in central heating, filled the enclosure with earth for plants, not realising that it would add to the chronic dampness that has been a problem inside the Kilns. If the Kilns were my property, I’d take a surveyer’s advice about curing the interior dampness.”