Go downstairs to the Cellar

Our house has no cellar, and all terraced houses we viewed during our house hunting have cellars.

The function of the cellar, firstly should be storage, people used to store food and wine in the cellar. Because refrigerator has not been invented yet.

During the World War Two, cellars were reinforced as bomb sheds. It's quite amusing to know that British were also scared to death by German bombs, same as Chinese by Japanese. But as far as I know, most of Chinese has no cellar to hide, especially in southern China, I have never seen any cellar under houses in our area either old fashioned or modern one. There was a joke that whenever bomb siren sounded, all people in Wenzhou city started to look for toilet (commode). They were too scared and upset to hold the urine.

The cellar also used to store coal! This idea came to me as I read this line:


We had a big cellar, which was reinforced with wood all around and the
escape hatch to the outside was up the grate where the coal was delivered.


Whenever I pass an old terraced house, I can see grate-covered hole leading to the cellar at the pavement. The grid is rotting, the hole is dark, dirty. Dust, rubbish, and rain goes through the grate and accumulated in there. I always wonder what's inside. What else people need this hole except for emergency escape and ventilation. Now I know before gas and electricity, coal was used as fuel and delivered through the grate and stored in the cellar.

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