Builders have uncovered a Victorian shoe to “ward off evil spirits” which was hidden beneath the floor of a historic Burnley school.
Workmen discovered the 19th Century wooden clog while renovating the former Habergham Eaves Parochial School in Trafalgar Street.
The find was made by Dale Contractors workers carrying out repairs on the building, constructed in 1840, as part of the multi-million pound regeneration of the Weavers’ Triangle
Experts believe the shoe was buried by superstitious Victorian builders to bring luck to school which educated impoverished children of the town and was extended in the 1880s. It was found with a newspaper cutting from 1884 and billboards warning about cholera outbreaks.
Cecilia Whittaker, Burnley Council’s townscape heritage officer for the Weavers’ Triangle, said: “A similar shoe was found in Victoria Mill beneath the floor where the University Technical College is now. Unfortunately it was not kept by the people who found it. The newspaper was from 1884 and may have been added during a building phase when the school was extended.”
Chris Tyson, of Dale Contractors, hopes to donate the artefacts to the Weavers’ Triangle Visitors Centre. He said: “The building has got an amazing history and this find is part of that heritage. They are in amazing condition.”
Habergham Eaves was built as a church school by nearby Holy Trinity for the children of Burnley mill workers in 1840. It had 250 youngsters on the books.
The old school house was later used as a youth club, a nursery nurse training centre and most recently a workshop for Dexter Paints. It was bought by Burnley Council in 2009 and has been vacant since.
More on this story in Friday’s Express