Spooked staff claim the ghost of a young boy is haunting Chester furniture shop

Reporter:

Matt Warner

STAFF at a Chester furniture shop staff fear the undead are walking among the upholstery after seeing the ghost of young boy in the store.

Staff at Sofa Workshop on Watergate Street claim they have seen a shadowy figure moving across the building’s 17th Century floors.

The building has a haunted heritage as it was part of a 2010 investigation into paranormal activity in the city

Staff at a city centre furniture store say the are “well and truly spooked” after they reported seeing the ghostly figure.

The Watergate Street building, which now houses bespoke upholstery store Sofa Workshop, formed part of an investigation into paranormal activity in the city lasting several weeks back in 2010.

And it seems investigators were on the right track after staff reported seeing a ghoulish shadow lurking around the top floor of the Grade I-listed building.

Lizzy Weston has worked at the store for more than 21 years and has also written a short book all about its history.

She said: “Myself and some of the other staff here are absolutely convinced that we’ve got some kind of ghost in the shop.

“A few of the team have seen a small shadowy figure moving across the upstairs gallery within the shop and we can’t find a logical explanation as to what it may be.

“On top of that, myself and other staff have felt a presence and having the sensation that we are being watched by something supernatural. We all get the impression that it’s a happy spirit, but it’s still very spooky!”

Often described as the best preserved medieval town house in Chester, the building dates back to 14th Century and was formerly home to a man by the name of John Leche, whose family coat of arms – which features a snake and a hand – can still be seen above the fireplace today.

Lizzy believes the unexplained phenomenon could be the spirit of a young boy, who may have died in the 18th Century when the building was a public house called The Hand and Snake.

During that time one of the rooms in the building – which can still be seen today – was used as a powder room, and it’s believed this would have been occupied by young boys, who would sit behind a small hole in the wall powdering the wigs of the gentry that visited.

According to Lizzy, the boys would have been made to use arsenic to kill off any bugs inside the wigs, but the poisonous nature of the substance may have resulted in many of them dying after inhaling the powder.

“I do think it could be the spirit of a small boy from the 18th Century who may have died when this building was a pub,” she added.

“This was a period when gentry wore wigs, white powder and beauty spots on their faces and it was easier to have these wigs powdered than washed, but the stories I’ve heard about the building suggest it may have caused the death of a few young boys.

“One of the former residents that lived above our shop also told me that she used to hear the sound of a small boy from time to time playing with what sounded like wooden toys. She’d been out to check what the sounds were but never found anything to explain them.”

The history of the building has also been brought to life this year through Talking Walls – the history and heritage project created by CH1ChesterBID. A small plaque that hangs underneath the Leche family crest in the store can be scanned with a smartphone, which will reveal the story of its past via a phone call.

For more information about CH1ChesterBID’s Talking Walls project, visit www.talkingwallschester.co.uk

Email:

matt.warner@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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