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Playhouse Theatre

Shadowy shapes and blue lights have been seen in the auditorium and on the balcony, and footsteps heard too. A little girl has also been seen standing to the side of the stage.

Update 13/9/21: Paul Scott, the theatre manager informs me, "We apparently have three ghosts - one man, one woman, one female child. The former has only been seen on a handful of occasions and not in the last 20 years. The woman has been seen once in the last three years but used to be seen (or heard) a bit more frequently. The child was last confirmed seen in 2013 and is our most frequently seen ghost or was. There was a sighting of a female child in October 2020 but in a different area than she is usually seen and wearing different clothes. However, the person concerned was quite shaken up and very vehement in what they had seen. That same week, someone was convinced they were being followed and heard footsteps behind them but no one was present. There has very definitely been far less activity or reported activity in recent years. We know precisely who the little girl is. We have a couple of candidates for the man as 7 men have died here and from the descriptions we can narrow it down. Bizarrely, no woman has ever died here since the building was built in 1806." In further emails, Paul told me, "The little girl has generally been seen either on the front right of the stage or on the left side near the stage manager's corner. We have had people leave from seeing a performance and saying to an usher "really enjoyed that, but didn't understand the significance of the little girl sitting at the front of the stage in the last scene". Of course, there was no girl in the play. Although the most frequently seen ghost, we're still talking fairly reticent - never more than once every two or three years but definitely less now. However, what is interesting is that everyone assumed - as we were a former swimming pool - she must have drowned here. No one has ever drowned here, none of the 8 deaths. Yet we only discovered five years ago that an 11-year old girl did indeed die here in the 1896 and that after a lot of research. No one could possibly have known about her until we found it ourselves so... Her name was Lilian Davies and in summary: The pool was often boarded over for other activity, including gymnasium classes and cycling lessons. A teacher from a private school came for a cycling lesson and brought pupil Lillian with her. Lilian was told she could look at the gym equipment but was not to touch anything. She found a vaulting horse that had telescopic legs (to adjust the height) and on withdrawing the pin on of the back legs, the body of the horse (weighing 16 stones) was unbalanced, toppled over and crushed Lilian’s skull. Unconscious, she lingered for a while, a doctor having been summoned from the General Hospital, but died here shortly afterwards. As far as I know, the only known death in the UK by vaulting horse! Another curious fact - Lilian died on 28 January 1896. Someone else died here on the same date precisely 15 years before."

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