New Plymouth renovations uncover 1960s teenage time capsule

News 19/06/2019

A Taranaki teacher has uncovered a 1960s teenager's shrine of their favourite pop stars while renovating a house. 

Katey Pittwood purchased her 1901 wood and corrugated iron cottage in New Plymouth last week, and immediately got to work on renovations with her partner Steven Rollo.

"I owned a house next door, sold it, and bought this one, and so I knew all the ceilings were hidden," Katey said. 

The couple began work on a small room which they plan to make into a bedroom for their two kids. 

"It was completely gibbed. The walls and ceiling were completely covered in gib, like a normal bedroom, but I knew, because I lived next door, that there were beautiful wooden ceilings. I got the keys on Friday at three o'clock, and I marched in, got the crowbar and said, 'Just pull down a little bit. Have a look.' And that was it."

Behind the gib, the couple found the walls were covered top to bottom with pictures of bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones from long-forgotten magazines like JackieFab, and Boyfriend.

Posters included The Kinks, Elvis Presley, The Who, film stars Steve McQueen and Sean Connery, The Yardbirds, The Merseybeats and the Swinging Blue Jeans, as well as bands that have fallen from fame, such as The Undertakers, The Applejacks and Bern Elliott and the Fenmen.

One poster is dated 1965, and the others seem to be from around that same year, before the flower power of the 1970s. Despite being over half a century old, because the posters have been covered over for decades, they still look brand new. 

"They're just so vivid," said Pittwood.

She says she doesn't know when or why the wells were covered over with the pictures left up.

"And I was praying that the ceilings were up there because if they weren't I'd just made a bloody mess in a perfectly good ceiling. But I must have known that there was going to be treasure. And then we got excited and pulled down all the Gib in the next room. But there was nothing. I was so excited that the next lot had to come down but there was nothing," she said.

The poster-covered walls are also on Gib board, fixed to the house's timber, so they could easily be removed to be given a new home. "I want someone to love it and have it and look after it," Kasey said.

Have a look at the collection below: