His employers, Peter Hall and Son, had been asked to do some conservation work on the writing slope but Mr Griffiths realised there was a hollow area he could not reach. He suspected a secret compartment, but he could not find the mechanism to expose it.
Eventually, after sleeping on the problem, he tried pressing down a screw. To his delight this released a cover and thereafter not one but three secret compartments.
"The initial mechanism is the most devious I have ever come across," said Mr Griffiths. The slope was bought at auction by the present owner's grandmother. Neither she nor the grandson had any idea of its romantic history.
Jeremy Hall, the head of the family restoration firm, said: "This lady was clearly anxious that no one uncover her letters and I'd be fascinated to know why. I'd also be fascinated to learn anything more about either her or George.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Faint echoes of Kierkegaard's Either-Or
From the Telegraph, the story of a furniture restorer who uncovered Victorian love-letters in the secret compartment of a desk: