I've just moved into my new house (built 1920). I have ripped out the old fireplace and taken some wood panels off the walls. There are a lot of cracks in the plaster above the fireplace, which I expect is normal. Should I skim over the original plaster or take it all off and start gain ? If I take it all off I will be back to brick. I was on a plastering course recently and we did not cover plastering over bricks, we just practiced on plasterboard, so I'm not sure how I should approach this. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Also, what sort of plaster should I use around a fireplace ? are there any specialised heat resistant plasters ?