I have been lurking on this group for some time, but this is the first time that I have ventured a post of my own. I have been using the holidays to do a spot of DIY (redoing the kitchen), but (as usual) I have encountered a problem which is beyond my abilities.
I removed the plaster from a wall in my kitchen as it was in poor shape. I was planning to insulate and dry-line the wall instead. But behind the plaster I discovered an old fireplace which had been sloppily bricked-up, and also a large crack running up the line of the chimney. It appears that the crack had simply been plastered over at some time in the past 20 years (my estimate). I don't simply want to dry-line over the fireplace and crack as it doesn't look in particularly good shape. But I am rather unsure what to do about the problem. I have put a photo of the crack and fireplace at the following location (apologies for the poor quality):
The top of the picture shows the remnants of plaster that I haven't yet removed (covered by some rather hideous wallpaper)! The crack runs down the left hand side of the picture (it is around 5cm wide in places and around 2m in length). The wall is constructed of stone and lime mortar, and the bricks and breeze-blocks at the bottom of the picture are covering the old fireplace.
I think the problem is that the fireplace doesn't have a proper lintel, and this has caused the wall to sag and the crack to form, but this is just a guess. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I fix the problem, or even who I should contact to assess the problem? It is a ground-floor Victorian-era flat with 3 similar flats above. Any suggestions appreciated, and a happy new year to all!