Weird Norfolk: The haunted clothes shop on London Street, Norwich
- Credit: Archant
The strangest stories are hidden in plain sight behind buildings which look as unremarkable as any other, but which harbour secrets which are passed down through the years by wide-eyed witnesses who have spotted something unusual about their workplace.
At 35 London Street, now the Norwich base for Edinburgh Woollen Mill, something strange has been seen on the first floor.
On Saturday December 13 1997, the Norwich Evening News reported a possible haunting at the building, which was then Farnworths, after speaking to manager Kerry Hughes, who told a reporter about some of the spooky goings-on.
'Once every couple of weeks I hear men's voices coming from the corridor when I'm sitting in my office on the floor below,' she said, 'at first I thought it was the offices next door but they were empty at that time of the morning.
'For the first couple of months after we opened we would walk in and as soon as we entered the corridor it would be icy cold and then warm a bit further along yet there were no drafts. I'm the last person here at night and the first person in the morning. I check all the rooms every night to make sure all the lights are off before I go. But this morning there was a pile of boxes stacked in the middle of the corridor – yet they definitely weren't there the night before.'
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'I noticed some strange marks on the corridor floor one morning. It was like a series of wet drag marks which went the whole length of the corridor, it looked like someone had put something down, dragged it a bit and then done the same all along the corridor. But there was no damp in the room – it was really spooky.'
Kerry had a chance conversation with a customer and discovered that the man had worked in the building for almost 30 years until the 1980s.
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'We talked a bit about the history and after a while I asked if anything strange had happened here,' she said.
The man's reply left her stunned: 'so you've met him have you?'
'He went on to say 'there's a long corridor right at the top of the building where we used to have our tearoom, that's where it all happens.'
Since this time, there have been various report of unaccountable occurrences at the London Street building: at the end of the last year, one half of Weird Norfolk overheard a customer talking about having seen 'something strange' on the upstairs floor, close to the stockroom.
Weird Norfolk has traced the use of the building since 1836, when Hannah Powell was listed as having a Hosiers and Haberdashers there. From 1883 onwards, the building has had a link to clothing and until 1966 it belonged to the same family, the Livocks; William Thomas Livcock & Sons.
It's been a tailors, and an outfitters, it's had a gentleman's hairdressing salon and stands on a street which was originally named Hosyergate, meaning 'street of stocking makers' and it has also been named after the Cockey, the stream which once ran through it. It was in the 1800s that it finally became known as London Street.
But the mystery of the ghost of number 35 persists: do let us know if you've met him on your travels.
For more Weird Norfolk stories click here.