Hidden Winchester

Hidden rooms on our High Street

We all know every shop has a storeroom out back, and perhaps even a staff room or kitchen. But have you ever thought what might be hidden behind the displays in the shop itself?Warren and Son

I certainly hadn’t given it much thought until last year’s Winchester Heritage Open Day when I spotted that a walk-in safe was being opened by Warren and Son. I had assumed when we went along to view that we would be going out the back or perhaps even down into the cellar. Warren and Son big safeBut no . . . . . . there it was in the main retail space, a big safe hidden behind a display I had only looked at a few days previously.

Apparently even Warren and Son had forgotten they had a safe there. Chris in his excellent talk shared that he had only discovered it a couple of years ago, and he has worked at Warren’s for 20 years. Of course I had to ask the question we all immediately think of when you find a safe – was there anything in it?! Unfortunately the answer was no. Still what an exciting moment that would have been discovering a ‘hidden room’ in your workplace.

Learning about the big safe at Warren and Son got me pondering about how many other ‘hidden rooms’ there might be on Winchester’s High Street and then lo and behold I stumbled across another big safe last week! Do you recognise it? It is in ‘White Stuff’ and they have created a community library in theirs to accompany the coffee shop at the back. White Stuff safe - Photograph by Tony WatkinsI totally forgot to take a photograph when I saw it, but thanks to the magic of social media I found this great photograph by Tony Watkins. The safe looks a similar size and design to the one at Warren and Son, so perhaps they were both created around the same time. Do you know anything more about either safe? Are you aware of any other big safes on Winchester’s High Street? Or perhaps you have a hidden room in your house or maybe even an underground passage*. If you do know the answers to any of these questions or know of any other hidden places in Winchester do let us know. You can leave a comment below, or send us a picture (we’re on Instagram and Twitter) or if you have a blog why not write your own ‘Six Word Saturday’ post telling us all about your hidden place.


PS We’ve mention underground passages as Chris during his talk told us about the traces of the one in Winchester. To find out more visit here.

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