Weird Norfolk: A ghostly encounter at The Norfolk Iron Works

arnards Ltd., at The Norfolk Iron Works in 1933,

Barnards Ltd., at The Norfolk Iron Works in 1933, around the time Mr Nash had a ghostly encounter. - Credit: George Plunkett

Join us on a ghostly journey back in time to Christmas Eve of 1930 when young Nash ran like the wind…out of a dark and scary factory in Norwich.

It took him almost 20 years to pluck up the courage to tell the tale in Christmas 1949 edition of the The Half Wheel, the company magazine for the world famous firm, Barnards Ltd., at The Norfolk Iron Works.

And G Nash – no first name provided – proved himself to be a gifted writer with his story of a happening which sent a shiver down his spine and gave him a Christmas he would never forget.

Over to Mr Nash who had only recently joined the company as an electrician and was working at Coslany Street premises in the city.

“The evening was moonless and dark. In fact at St Miles there was a murky gloom prevailing all day owing to the snow-laden skies. The only exception was where the snow reflected its refreshing whiteness through the windows and doorways.

“For the benefit of the uninitiated, the part of the firm I am about to tell of is situated on Coslany Street. To get to it, one has to go over the Packing Floor and through the old Wire Stores.

“These stores were dimly lit with small electric bulb, but in the part where this incident took place, there were no lights, only a lead which would not quite reach anywhere.

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“All these stores were originally houses or public houses, and the one in question was known as Lucas’ House.

“Now this house was in years gone by tenanted by a gentleman by the name of Lucas. The same gentlemen is reputed to have taken his life with the aid of a rope and the use of a beam at the top of the stairs.

“From that time forth, his spirit could find no rest and wandered abroad through the rooms of the house at various intervals,” wrote Mr Nash.

He continued:

“It was part of my job at that time to take meter readings, and the office meter was fixed in the basement of Lucas’ house. On this particular morning, Christmas Eve, I had been busy on another job and was not sent to read the meters till late in the afternoon.

“I made my way round the firm and eventually came to the last meter – Lucas’ House! It seemed to me more eerie than ever, the wire carriers were not about and all that could be heard was the sound of the spring machines in motion and the distant ‘lump’ of the netting looms.”

“With a prickly sensation up and down my back, I plugged in the lead. This seemed to make things worse as now there were shadows, grotesque shapes thrown on the walls, dancing; as I walked on, a rat ran across my path. I stopped with a jerk, and could feel the lump in my heart.

“I took a few steps forward – the lead would reach no further. I hung it up and went on with the aid of a waning torch I just reached the bottom of the stairs when all of a sudden something flashed past me – I looked up….

“There, silhouetted against the snow-glow coming through the window, was old Lucas swinging in a horrible fashion on his rope from the beam. I went cold: then instantly hot, the perspiration oozing from every pore in my body.

“I must have been transfixed for several seconds, just staring at the hideous shape swinging to and fro, then I turned and tore back to the main part of the works  as fast as I could,” wrote G Nash.

“After the holidays I went down again to Lucas’ House; this time on a bright winter’s morning. I reached the stairs and looked up…there swinging still was a large sack that had broken loose from its fastenings over the window at the top of the stairs!

“To cap this all, a stray cat looked at me from above, and I swear it was laughing at me.

“Needless to say, I have never told a soul about this from that day to this, so…keep it dark!!”

Thank you G Nash. An electrician – and a brilliant writer.

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