OTish: A partially painted wall.

Not actually my question, posted for a friend:
"Some of you will know that I'm still mid-decorating my Victorian semi.
But something has me extremely puzzled....
Why on earth does somebody seem to have painted the lower part of the wall of the hall, stairs and landing in delightful pea green paint? It extends from the skirting, up to about 5'6", maybe 6' in some areas.
There's no clean line at the edge, which varies quite a bit. So it's not up to an area where there might have been a picture rail, or anything like that.
Above the green paint there's just normal plaster, which appears to be original and undisturbed. No sign of the top section having been replastered or anything.
Could the house have been painted by a firm of vertiginous midgets - with a fear of stepladders?
Or temporary accommodation for a branch of "indecisives anonymous"?
Any ideas, anyone?
PS. For now, I'm assuming that the paint is old/original and could therefore have a high lead content. Not scraping at it etc."
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On 09/02/2011 14:58, Lino expert wrote:

Perhaps the painter was overcome by toxic fumes before finishing it.
Colin Bignell
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There was probably a rail which was papered above and painted below for easy cleaning. This was fairly common in Victorian houses.
Jonathan
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He'd wondered this, but there are no signs of fixing holes or glue remnants.
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Paper border?
MBQ
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Hmm, that's a possibility - the top remaining inches of the wall are just bare plaster so they might have papered down from the ceiling to a paper border.
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