READER Christopher Amor has reminded us of one of the more unusual events to take place in Hereford's High Town in the 1960s.

These days, probably very few people cast a glance upwards when they walk down High Street to look at the black-and-white building lodged into the upper reaches of the New Look, formerly the Littlewoods, store.

And even fewer would bother to reflect on how the house came to be where it is.

But the story is one of an engineering feat which was remarkable in its time.

When Littlewoods were building their Hereford store they decided they would like to preserve for posterity as part of the building a 17th-century three-storey merchant's house that occupied part of the site.

A 35-year-old civil engineer, John Pryke of London firm Pynford, was hired to mastermind the operation, which took place starting at 10pm on Saturday, May 8, 1965.

And large crowds turned out to watch as the house made its slow journey to rest eventually on what was then the taxi rank in High Town.

The spectacle continued into the early hours and was completed on the morning of Sunday, May 9.

While the event was not exactly the media circus it would have been today, the move was widely covered with Pathe News film still available:

That particular venerable residence, not to be confused with the Old House which was just a few yards away from its temporary neighbour during that summer, was due to remain in High Town for around six months before being moved back to its current position although it did not, in fact, make its return journey until the following year.

It was not until the weekend of November 19/20 in 1966 that the return journey took place.

The journey began at 9.25pm on the Saturday with several hundred in attendance to watch the spectacle which finally concluded at 5am the following morning.

The whole move was funded by Littlewoods to the tune of £10,000, which was estimated at about £100 per yard for the return journey.

And through the whole time, there was no sign of the ghost reputed to haunt the building. That spirit is supposed to be an apothecary who accidentally killed one of his apprentices by mixing him the wrong medicine then killed himself out of remorse in the attic of the building

Another not in evidence due to the cold of the evening was former city Alderman Garnet Marchant whose father had run a wine and grocery business in the old building.

Mr Marchant, who was 84 at the time, told the Hereford Evening News how his two brothers and two sisters had all been born in the house. He was intending to go along and inspect the site when the weather improved.

The Evening News also reported that Mr Pryke, who had successfully overseen both legs of the operation, was hoping to use the move as evidence of his skill as his firm was going to take part in an international competition to arrest the tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Despite his success in Hereford, that never seems to have happened.