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The small house I live in is 100 years old, and built of brick. It is a tremendously (over-)engineered building: two layers of brick even for interior walls, exterior walls are around 1 ft thick, and four massive chimney-breasts (although two were sadly removed by previous owners).

My theory is that they just had enormous amounts of cheap labour 100 years ago, and you'd never be able to build such a building today because it would be far too expensive.

In my experience the timber in buildings that old is of the sort that would be hard to find at any price these days, and ruinously expensive if you could. Single thick, long, flawless pieces used in places where several thinner, knot-filled pieces would be used today.

Exceptional (by modern standards) material, used in quantities that would be considered excessive even in nice construction these days.

This is of course why reclaimed building materials are a thing (in the UK anyway). I could go to a place not 10 miles from here and buy a cast iron fireplace that was previously in a home very similar to mine. The irony being that a previous owner of my home probably chucked my fireplace in a skip in about 1980.

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