When the time came to demolish the old house, everyone was surprised to fine the front door still standing.
Several times the bulldozers came in, and overnight the door reappeared.
We began to understand there had to be a reason and the reason we figured had to lie in the house’s history.
As far as we knew the house had been abandoned a long time. Records told us it was an orphanage once run by the Sisters of Saint Kinesha the Prostitute. History tells us the orphanage was a terrible place where children worked day and night, where abuse was common place and where pedophile rings operated with no protection for the children involved.
The house was taken over in the 1930’s by a company who used the premises for making shoes. They had a thriving company, and the boot factory operated until the 1980’s.
Within the company records, there are reports from workers of seeing a child in the fetal position in one of the toilet areas even though no children were ever allowed into the factory and no evidence was found to say there ever were any children there.
When demolition started on the site, and the buildings were cleared the bones of deceased children were found in the basement area, buried in the ground and later a floor laid over their burial site. It was estimated there may have been as many as three hundred children buried in that grave alone. A similar graveyard was found when the laundry drying room was cleared. Under that floor lay the remains of two hundred children.
Back in the day the ‘Holy Sisters’ had no trouble finding children. It was common for mothers to die in childbirth and for fathers to feel ill-equipped to care for their children and so places like the orphanages thrived on other people’s misfortune and in turn subjected their charges to a misery they never could escape and ultimately resulted in their death.
There was not a reliable method of record keeping, so it is not known how many children over the years the orphanage took in. If there were any records, it’s likely that when the orphanage caught fire in the 1920’s the records as they might have been were destroyed.
We do know that the Sisters practised a policy that hard work and penance was the only way a child’s soul might be cleansed and therefore make it into heaven. Punishments, therefore, were harsh and frequent. It would appear from the few letters that somehow survived that children born out of wedlock were particularly hard done by. This was because they were seen by the ‘Holy Sisters’ as the devil’s spawn.
Why the door remained is a mystery, and in time after years of attempts to dispose of it, the planners decided it would be far easier to build around it. So today we have a building with a blacked door, scratches on the inside have remained with no amount of sanding and painting over being able to expunge them.
The door sits at the western end of the building, the streets around being redesigned, so the door and all its hideous memory is well out of sight.
But at night the door creaks as if there is still some life left in it. People in the new building claim to hear children crying at night and the child, once seen in the fetal position in the old boot factory is still there appearing on the bottom floor, frightened, dirty and so very alone.