Cellar partially filled with rubble...why?

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We have a house built in 1898, and we live by the coast in Lytham. Our cellar which runs the considerable length of the house has been partially filled with rubble. We know some of the house's history, and we know for sure that the cellar was once full height, but no one knows when or why the cellar was filled with rubble. Some possible explanations could be: to prevent flooding because of the high Coastal water table, or to support the foundations, or because a builder had been lazy in the past when doing work on the house (our last builder said that, probably as a joke!). Any of these seems plausible to me, but judging by the shear volume of it, I reckon there must have been a very good reason to put it down there.

We'd be keen to excavate the space and use it's full potential, but I wouldn't want to compromise the house in terms of flood prevention or structurally. What would you seasoned builders advise? I assume well tanked cellars can withstand pretty severe water penetration?
 
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You shouldnt expect to find beautiful dry walls if you do excavate the cellar out.. more than likely you will find crumbling old walls that leak like a seive.. requiring extensive repairs/rebuild as well as complete waterproof tanking.. ventilation will also be something to consider before even starting..
 
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Def, Lazy builder - not said as a joke at all :idea:
 
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You will need to post a pic or 2 of the rubble please to get to the bottom of this matter
 
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Indeed,

I can't see alot of good with just rubble, cement maybe.
 
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seen this many times in the past,chimney breasts need to come down lets open the floor and sweep the lot down there,
trouble is the 1s ive seen were meant to have say a 6ft oversite because of the water table,and the whole place gets flooded.
 
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