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'Ghosts walk stairs' of old building

PUBLISHED: 12:35 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:08 03 July 2010

THE former Boultons furniture store echoes to the sounds of burly builders and clanking mugs of tea as it undergoes a £1.8m redevelopment.

But the North Quay building which dates back to the 16th century is also home to some more ghostly goings on as workmen strip away layers of history.

THE former Boultons furniture store echoes to the sounds of burly builders and clanking mugs of tea as it undergoes a £1.8m redevelopment.

But the North Quay building which dates back to the 16th century is also home to some more ghostly goings on as workmen strip away layers of history.

Not only has the process given up some architectural secrets revealing evidence of a Carmelite Friary, pipe maker's kiln, and a grand Merchant's house adorned by extravagant paintings it seems that former occupants keep returning to their old haunts long after they have died.

Conservation officer Darren Barker said some “very credible people” had said they had seen ghosts walking up the stairs so clearly they thought they were other contractors.

Paranormal “ghost busters” he added had checked out the site and said there were “quite a few of them.” But archaeology was turning up the best evidence about lives previously lived on the site where pleasure gardens and bowling greens met the riverside.

The major project to restore the building which was on the point of collapse was running just ahead of schedule and was due to be completed for Flagship Housing in March.

Mr Barker had nothing but praise for Wellington Construction who are carrying out the conversion into homes after first stabilising the building and unpicking emergency work to prop it up.

“Boultons is progressing incredibly well,” Mr Barker said. “There is some very good work being done by the contractors using traditional techniques.”

Finds so far have included a skull bricked into a fire place, a 16th century pavement, pieces of the Carmelite friary that burnt down in 1509 and were used in the rebuild of the replacement building, a pipe makers kiln and dozens of rejected clay pipes, a rare window, wall paintings and “curious” garden features.

In one of its incarnations it was lived in by a former Great Yarmouth mayor by the name of Fisher who would have been able to view his wherries plying their trade along the scenic river.

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