Secret passages (HLD 280)

28 Dec 2020

I read an article online today about a very expensive hotel suite in Sydney. It will cost you $225,000 a night to stay there, and there’s a two night minimum. Obviously you wouldn’t want to stay for just a single night, would you? The reason they were talking about it in the article was because of the special hidden feature – a secret door that your private staff can enter and exit without interrupting you.

I’m not entirely sure whether I’d want people sneaking in and out of the very expensive hotel room. I guess it’s ok for them to deliver all the expensive room service meals I’d obviously order, but I really think I’d like to know if someone was going in and out of the room. I mean – I could be playing ‘no more monkeys jumping on the bed’, or having a soak in the bath tub that apparently takes 45 minutes to fill, or just stepping out of the private sauna that’s in the apartment.

The concept of secret doors or hidden passages and so forth led to some research about famous building with secret passages and rooms. Apparently the Parish Opera House, immortalised in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ musical, really does have an underground lake. No singing phantom apparently, which is a bit disappointing.

Obviously there are heaps of castles and mansions around the place with secret rooms and passages. Possibly for the same reason as the expensive hotel room – so your servants can get in and out without interrupting the rich people who are jumping up and down on their expensive beds.

There were rooms where the homeowners hid priest or two, tunnels to provide an easy escape route if one might be required, rooms to hide alcohol or weapons or treasure. And there’s amazing stories about people hiding out in secret rooms for a long time, like the Anne Frank story!

I have two parts of my house that could meet this criteria. We have a tiny little cupboard that is known in the family as the “Harry Potter cupboard”, although quite frankly it’s about half the size of the real Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs. And we have an entrance into our ceiling space that we can hide all sorts of stuff in. But even for someone as vertically challenged as me, it’s a bit of a challenge to access. For anyone taller than me, it’s not a comfortable experience to access this hidey hole.

If I’m going to be totally honest with you, all the secret storage places in my house are used to hide…..not treasure, not weapons, not priests…..but ….stuff. Things that we are keeping, waiting for a bulk rubbish verge collection, or things that may one day come in handy. Unlikely, but an outside chance.

In your travels, have you come across interesting houses/mansions/castles with incredible secret rooms or passageways? Did you get to have a look inside them? Did they also contain Christmas decorations, old furniture, and bits and pieces of rubbish waiting to be disposed of, like in my house?

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