Ok, I've been working on getting new wallpaper up in my shower room. The old paper was coming down and I decided just to go ahead and pull it. I made an effort to preserve the old cloth backing. In the old days before wallboard was used for everything people used ship lap or lapboard to build walls. These boards are made to go together by notching the boards with a quarter inch rabbit or cutout on the top and bottom of the board one rabbit the inside (the part toward the 2x4) and one on the outside (facing into the room). The boards would lock together as the rows of planks would form a groove for the next plank to sit in. Of course the process was not perfect and the walls needed to be covered with panels or paper. Since paper would show the gaps and unevenness of the planks, the walls were covered with a cloth mesh that would hold the paper. The mesh did not show the gaps in the wood because it was stretched over the whole wall.
You can see the mesh here. Through the cloth you can see the ship lap planks. I installed drywall inside corner bead as this would allow to turn a tight corner while keeping it smooth.
Here is the paper after I after I put it up. I found I had a problem in that the original paper was done with an overlap or selvage modern papers are not designed to do this and are made to go on top of smooth surfaces like wallboard. This presented a problem to me as the cloth was not ridged and would flex and sag somewhat this meant I had to find a means of holding the paper in place while the paste set. I used blue painters tape to do this at the match points where the paper met. you can see this on the right.