A SMALL building below one of Chester's most prestigious landmarks is to be turned into a sandwich shop.
The ornate Eastgate Clock is said to be Britain's most photographed after St Stephen's Tower, which houses Big Ben.
Since 1895, the alcove below it has been a barber shop but the owner has retired and business man Mark Smith is moving in.
He has applied for permission to turn the Grade Two listed property into a sandwich bar, with the frontage as a serving hatch. But one eminent local historian says it will spoil the building, which is the only one in Chester to be completely built into the city walls.
Len Morgan, who has extensively researched the history of the city, said: "I think it is a shame. I hope they don't ruin the frontage, but they want to put in a stable door style serving hatch, which is not really in keeping.
"It's got an amazing history. It used to be used by monks as a decoy when they slipped out to the pub. The position of it meant they could always say they were on their way to the barbers or on their way back."
The clock was erected at Eastgate Street in 1899 although the date on the surrounding inscription is 1897.
This is because the clock, which is officially known as the Eastgate Jubilee Clock, was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee which fell in 1897.
The alcove below has been a barber shop for 108 years and before that was a wool traders.