Lime plaster crumbling away on internal wall

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Hi guys

a merry Christmas to everyone! I recently bought a house, it’s 1905, and the photo attached concerns the inside of a built in wardrobe.

The wall is a west-facing external wall, and the two holes shown are so loose you can pick them away with just a fingernail, and it goes all the way to the brick.

I know nothing about this kind of thing, but if anyone can be generous with their knowledge, I’d love to understand what I’m looking at, the materials involved, the potential causes of it, and ultimately what the fix is going forward. Is it a remedial fix I can do myself with a bit of research?

I’m about to repaint and replace all the skirting in the room, and planned to rip the wardrobe out and make a new one in its place, but that’s where my expertise ends. If anyone can help me understand what I’m looking at, and how likely it is that this kind of thing is to have spread throughout the room, that would be great.

beyond the wardrobe, the rest of the room appears to be quite modern.

Bonus question: I don’t know if this is related, but knocking with my knuckle, some portions of the wall sound like solid stone and then give way to what sounds like hollow wood - does that make sense?

Like I say, I’d love to know as much as possible about this, so if anyone is feeling generous, I’d massively appreciate a proper primer on this subject. Thanks guys, hope you all stay safe.

Edit: looking closely, the plaster has a lot of horse hair in it. Very visible. Not sure if this means anything relative to things
 

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The middle shelf support has been removed along with the fixings at some point which has pulled the original plaster. You'll find if you remove the rest of the wardrobe the same will happen where fixings are involved.

Wet it with water using a paint brush and fill it with a plaster filler or similar. Doesn't have to be lime based unless your picky about maintaining original materials.

You'll find in certain areas the plaster sounds hollow for a 1905 build that's pretty common it means the plaster isn't adhered great to the wall but unless it sounds hollow everywhere your really opening up a can of worms trying to remove it.

Unless it's hanging off, leave it.
 
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You can buy lime plaster for filling online if you want.
 
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The middle shelf support has been removed along with the fixings at some point which has pulled the original plaster. You'll find if you remove the rest of the wardrobe the same will happen where fixings are involved.

Wet it with water using a paint brush and fill it with a plaster filler or similar. Doesn't have to be lime based unless your picky about maintaining original materials.

You'll find in certain areas the plaster sounds hollow for a 1905 build that's pretty common it means the plaster isn't adhered great to the wall but unless it sounds hollow everywhere your really opening up a can of worms trying to remove it.

Unless it's hanging off, leave it.

HIya,

Hey thanks so much. Sorry for the late reply - I thought I'd turned on notifications to my email but clearly hadn't. Thanks for such an in depth response, that tells me all I needed to know. My plan to rip out the wardrobe for put on the back burner and I just proceeded with repairing the wood and decorating the rest of the room as normal. I'll take this messy inside wall now using your advice. Thanks again, and Happy New Year :)
 
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I agree with @cj

If the rest is sound, I would recommend brushing PVA in to the void- and then fill it with regular filler. The PVA will glue the existing plaster.
 
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