Around Bedern Arch, off Goodramgate, stood an ancient building that, in 1847, became the ‘York Industrial Ragged School’. Its master, a greedy and crazed alcoholic, rounded up the homeless and hungry children of the city and set them to work. His only interest in the children was their financial worth and he frequently kept the money that should have fed and clothed the orphans. Many of them perished from exposure and starvation, which suited the master very well as each death meant one less child. In summer months he would secretly bury their little bodies in shallow graves and decline to tell the authorities that he no longer required the welfare payments for their keep. But when the winter frosts came he wasn’t able to dig through the hard ground. Instead he hid the bodies in a large cupboard in the orphanage. Over time the rotting bodies mounted in his cupboard and the ghosts of his victims haunted his twisted mind until, in a state of wretched derangement, he took a knife and murdered the remaining children in the home.
The house no longer exists but, on cold winter nights, if you are brave enough to wander through the Bedern Arch off Goodramgate, it is possible that you will feel the hand of a child in yours and hear the terrible screams of the ghosts of the ‘York Industrial Ragged School’.