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Hidden cellar in garden

Hidden cellar in garden

Old Apr 6th 2022, 8:35 am
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Default Hidden cellar in garden

Is there anyway to find out about a hidden cellar in our garden? We've been having some ground works done and the diggers have unearthed a hidden cellar. No idea at this point of depth, size or where the entrance is.
Our house was built in 1985.
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Old Apr 6th 2022, 1:07 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

Originally Posted by FenTiger View Post
Is there anyway to find out about a hidden cellar in our garden? We've been having some ground works done and the diggers have unearthed a hidden cellar. No idea at this point of depth, size or where the entrance is.
Our house was built in 1985.
What makes you think it is a cellar? It could be a rainwater cistern or a cesspit. If the house was built in 1985, - when did the village get mains drainage? if post 1985 then there will be a cesspit somewhere. Frequently cellars in gardens are often built half underground, that is dug down half or 2/3rds down, cllar built and then the spoil placed over the top to reduce the considerable cost of removing the spoil off site (this approach can also mitigate the effects of a high water table) Water cisterns and cesspits are always wholly underground.

You say the digger have found a construction, you can follow the construction (by digging) to the edge and follow that or make a hole in the roof (or side wall if that is what is exposed) and then look inside to see what you have. If you make a hole in the roof make sure you expose enough of the roof to ensure that you are not drilling down through the roof into the top of the wall.
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Old Apr 6th 2022, 1:43 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden


The rectangular soil covered patch is the cesspit. The "cellar" is to the right and down about a metre. There is a pipe. Could be for rainwater. It's covered with steel re-enforced concrete. Had the project manager here.
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Old Apr 6th 2022, 2:08 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

Do you have any clue as to the area/ size of the "cellar"? Unless it is at least the size of a small room, say 2m x 3m or more, in area, it is almost certainly a cistern/ tank for holding (mostly) liquids of some sort.

If it's down a meter or more, and unless you need to excavate the area, for example for new building foundations or a swimming pool, I would leave well alone.
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Old Apr 6th 2022, 7:01 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

I recently found one of these "Cellars" in my front garden....it was an old septic tank, the concrete lid was about 2 metres X 4 metres and clearly had sewerage pipes going in it on the side closest to the house. The lid was about 20cm thick and was about 30cm under the ground. I would bet money it is or was the septic tank or cistern for your house or a for a structure that was on the property in the past. Best advice is leave it alone if at all possible.
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Old Apr 6th 2022, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

Thanks for all the replies above. The septic tank or cesspit is only 2m x 1m. Strangely, underneath the concrete cover (with those flat metal hoops) had already been filled with earth. But the other "cellar" is just empty. Size is probably 3m x 2m with depth of about 1m. Would have been handy to have one of those flexible snake cameras so we could have a good look inside. The project manager and boss are aware. The building company is insured so should the worse happen we should be covered.
I'm certain our house which was built in 1985 was connected to mains when built. Other houses along same road appear to be similar age.
We found the building company via our estate agent friend who helped negotiate the purchase. He's a friend of my sister-in-law. The building company boss can speak English and flits between Miskolc and Budapest.



Can't seem to upload ine photo.
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Old Apr 7th 2022, 10:16 am
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

It sounds about the same size as the concrete lined "hole" that contains all the piping from the mains water supply into the house. And obviously there's a pipe leading to and from it. Could it be that the land your house is built on is a subdivision and the mains water connection had to be moved somewhere else?
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Old Apr 7th 2022, 10:54 am
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

Originally Posted by Sachina View Post
It sounds about the same size as the concrete lined "hole" that contains all the piping from the mains water supply into the house. And obviously there's a pipe leading to and from it. Could it be that the land your house is built on is a subdivision and the mains water connection had to be moved somewhere else?
Last part - yes, that is what I suspect. There's a mains water supply pipe that comes in from the road into our pince and has an additional tap to turn off in there if necessary.
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Old Apr 7th 2022, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

One of the team is making enquiries with the mayor's office about what we've discovered.
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Old Apr 7th 2022, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden


to the left you can see what looks like a cesspit concrete cover. Underneath was nothing but earth! It's possible previous owners decided to use it as part of a pathway and covered the cesspit to the top right with a layer of concrete. Not sure how to describe it. So one of the team involved with our new terrace is making enquiries with the mayor's office about the cesspit.
The photo was taken last year when I suspected there was a footpath underneath the overgrown grass. Sure enough there was but part of it had crumbled away. Looking back now if I'd known it was the lid for a cesspit I might have sold it to anyone who wanted to use it for seating or a table top! Bit mad maybe!

Last edited by FenTiger; Apr 7th 2022 at 4:53 pm.
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Old Apr 12th 2022, 5:24 am
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

The building company via their diggers are going to make another hole so they can see what is underneath. Looking at the photo in previous post the location where you see a a strimmer is where the septic tank appears to be. I'd have thought using poles to check depth of earth until they hit something hard they'd know where the septic tank is.
Wife has just told me the project manager is here. So will pop outside to see what's happening.
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Old Apr 19th 2022, 6:22 am
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden


No choice but to fill it up with hard core and cement!
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Old Apr 19th 2022, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

Was expecting the guys doing the work on the septic tank to be here today but instead we've got two other guys doing some cladding work. Until the new raised terrace is built they won't be able to do it all. Think a bit pointless as they'd have to come back.

With the other guys being here from 7am, finishing at 5pm but not getting picked up until 6pm it's felt like we had been "quarantined". Much worse for the dogs so had to take them on more walks or a quick walk on lead around the garden. They were not here over the Easter weekend which was nice but I injured my right foot so could not catch up on other things needing doing around the garden.
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Old Apr 19th 2022, 3:10 pm
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

Originally Posted by FenTiger View Post
... No choice but to fill it up with hard core and cement!
That reminds me of the time I found the foundation of an air raid shelter in my back garden in London. I wondered why my lawn was so poor and weedy and decided to dig it up and improve it with peat and new topsoil. I went to the middle (it was only 12'x15', 4m x 5m) and stuck a fork in the ground. It barely went in literally one inch before hitting concrete, and it turned out that I had hit part of the perimeter wall of the shelter. Three of the walls were under the lawn, and the center of the shelter had been filled with the concrete from the rest of the shelter, clay tiles from the path to the front door, broken glass, a smashed iron bath, and sundry other demolition waste, which had been skimmed over with the smallest amount of soil that might enable grass, and weeds, to grow over it!
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Old Apr 20th 2022, 10:19 am
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Default Re: Hidden cellar in garden

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
That reminds me of the time I found the foundation of an air raid shelter in my back garden in London. I wondered why my lawn was so poor and weedy and decided to dig it up and improve it with peat and new topsoil. I went to the middle (it was only 12'x15', 4m x 5m) and stuck a fork in the ground. It barely went in literally one inch before hitting concrete, and it turned out that I had hit part of the perimeter wall of the shelter. Three of the walls were under the lawn, and the center of the shelter had been filled with the concrete from the rest of the shelter, clay tiles from the path to the front door, broken glass, a smashed iron bath, and sundry other demolition waste, which had been skimmed over with the smallest amount of soil that might enable grass, and weeds, to grow over it!
There's bit of the septic tank cover with a very thin layer of soil where there's been grass. Never crossed my mind the top of the septic tank was 10mm below the top of the soil!
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