THE "world's first" ghost shop in York's Shambles has become such a massive international hit that the business has now opened a new operations base in St Saviourgate.

The York Ghost Merchants' shop attracts huge queues every day along the Shambles, with some tourists considering it the city's biggest attraction, said co-owner Angus McArthur.

The tiny handmade ghost figures became a must-have souvenir after videos of them went viral on social media, and Internet orders are coming in from across the world, particularly America.

Angus said the shop in Shambles 'very much remains the heart of our retail operations' and would continue.

But he said the 'company headquarters' will now be in a fine Georgian townhouse at 31, St Saviourgate, which will accommodate a much larger workshop, an internet packing and dispatch room, offices, staff room, archive and public spaces for exhibitions and gatherings.

The ground floor will also be home to an appointment/invitation only showroom later in the year.

Angus said the house was built in 1735 and at various times had been home to a Lady dissenter & philanthropist  -who was commemorated with a Blue Plaque - an Admiral and his 13 children, a professor of music, a chaplain of The County Asylum and from 1901 to 1956 a school for the poor of the Parish of St Crux.

"It is an honour to be able to add “Company Headquarters of The York Ghost Merchants” to the fascinating history of this handsome building," he said.

He said a scheme of sympathetic renovation and refurbishment was stripping away the incongruous evidence of 80’s accountancy offices to reveal the real character of the house.

"We have over the last 12 weeks largely removed the magnolia & fluorescent evidence of corporate 21st century life and returned the interiors to their eighteenth century origin," he said.

He said the business had celebrated the move into the new workshop with a ghost  named St Saviour.

"This was the first larger batch made in the new building and its colours were suggested by the building itself," he said.

"The St Saviour Ghost is coloured with the Georgian green that now covers the walls of our showroom & uncannily matches the layer of paint found on the original boards of the first floor hallway.

"These Ghosts feel very at home here. Each will be base stamped with “St Saviour” in the same handwritten font the can be found on Peter Chassereau’s wonderful 1750 plan of York."

Customers on the Ghost Merchants' Facebook page seem delighted by them. "I am super excited to be able to get my second ghost, and I hope the ghost I get is happy to fly transatlantic to their new home," said one.

"I just love him, the cutie little ghostie-faced darling!" said another.