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Gold Found at Winchester

Earlier this month great excitement was had as the team uncovered a series of remarkable discoveries at the old Debenhams building in Winchester City Centre.


Whilst carrying out the shopfront refurbishment element of works, the site team discovered two generations of original signage, the oldest of which, dates from the 1800’s and is hand painted in gold leaf. The team also found beautiful leaded glass windows, fully intact.


The MCS team arranged for Laura Knight, a Winchester based enthusiastic historical researcher, to come to site to capture some of the features on camera.  Of her visit, Laura said: “I'd always admired the beautiful beamed ceiling in part of Debenhams, and suspected there was an interesting history. So I was thrilled to get the chance to see the structure and old features uncovered and up close; from solid oak columns, to Victorian steelwork, Edwardian window hardware and hand painted wallpapers.


“Squirreling away in the archives proved just as interesting, following the journey of Robert Sherriff and Edward Ward as they expanded their drapery business. What started in no. 12 High Street in the 1870s grew across and backwards, finally encompassing no. 15 High Street in the 1890s and all the land backing on to Market Lane.


“After holding beautiful hand drawn plans of the expansions and alterations, and seeing the census return detailing those who worked for the business, I am so glad to be able to share some of the forgotten human history. I just wish there were some interior photographs to see the old department store in its bustling heyday!”


Justin Whiteman, Managing Director of MCS, said: “These historical discoveries we uncovered at 12-15 High Street, Winchester, are hugely exciting and significant finds as it helps to further shape our understanding of what life in the region was like over this period in history, and we can see how the site developed through different periods of time.


“MCS is privileged to be able to make these discoveries and, importantly, carefully reinstate its protection so that the signage can remain in situ and safe for future generations.”



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