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Why do old buildings in the UK smell like ammonia / boar taint?

As a US resident who visited the UK, I was surprised that most buildings built before say 1800 smelled strongly of pork, an ammonia-like smell but most precisely like boar taint. I have never smelled this in old buildings in other countries.

What is the smell? Is it residue from centuries of cooking pork? Is it from an old type of varnish? Decaying wood?

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