Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Candy Skeletons

Here's our piece from todays Greenock Telegraph...

The darker side of The Sugar Sheds history was explored last week when psychic medium Joan Charles took a tour around the iconic buildings with local heritage enthusiasts.

Joan has spent the last few months exploring mysterious and unusual locations across the UK and she was really glad to get the opportunity to investigate in her own area.

“The minute I walked in, I felt the atmosphere was very oppressive, just a real feeling of being trapped, not just physically, but maybe..financially. The people who worked in here had a very hard life inside and out of the Sheds. A lot of illness and disease.”
Construction on The Sugar Sheds began in 1885, with the buildings being completed 125 years ago in 1886. Thousands of people have worked in and passed through The Sheds since then, including German and Irish workers, something which Joan picked up on immediately.
“There was a real sense of multiculturalism there, not just in terms of the ships docking, but the people working, the people stuck inside. I was getting real Dutch and Canadian connections as well.”
Joan was in no doubt about one thing,
“People have died there. I was getting a man who had died in a fire there, trapped inside. Not the recent fire, before that.”

Paul Bristow is part of the Keep Greenock Sugar Sheds a Community Space campaign, and as a member of Magic Torch, has been researching and writing about local heritage and folklore for over ten years.
“With old buildings, there’s always a strange feeling, a sort of absence, spaces which were once so full of people and life, now empty and silent. The Sheds are a tremendously atmospheric space, and I was really interested to see what someone a bit more sensitively tuned to that space than myself might be able to find out! We’ve worked with Joan a few times before in exploring local spaces with a bit of dark history.”
Paul was really interested in some of the areas Joan was talking about which he had not heard before.
“Joan was particularly interested in the remains of the lift shaft in Shed A, a site which anecdotally has been the location for a number of deaths within The Sheds over the years. There were a few things which we’ll have to check up on, a number of specific family names and related events, other instances of fire within the building, and also the possibility that there were ever coffins stored within the sheds. It’s good to have a few new lines of enquiry.”

Following the success of The Tall Ships in Greenock earlier this summer, The Sugar Sheds have been the focus of a local campaign to see more events hosted there.

Two multinationals and a number of community groups are discussing potential future uses for The Sugar Sheds with the buildings owners, James Watt Dock LLP. The LLP are currently accepting expressions of interest from Events Management Organisations looking at developing commercial events in this unique location.

One of the more popular suggestions for events within the space was a Halloween event with music, horror films and ghost hunting based on Joan’s initial experiences, there’s certainly plenty there to find!

Just to keep you's the theme tune from Clive Barker's horror film The Candyman...(the original short story was set in Liverpool, another "sugar town")