If you are interested in paying a visit to what is thought as the most haunted city in England, consider Derby, which has been dubbed the "Ghost Capital of England." There's a lot of landmarks, buildings, and locations that the locals are well aware of when it comes to things that send chills up and down your spine. For this reason, a lot of tourists come to take tours and glance at some off-the-beaten path sites filled with both historical and paranormal intrigue.
So to get you started here's some places that may be of interest
Built in 1717, the Silk Mill served as the first factory constructed in England. Standing on the banks of the River Derwent, the mill is the setting for a tale of industrial spies centered in the world of silk making. It is said that the first industrial spy in the world traveled to Livorno, Italy to steal patterns for creating silk- throwing machines. Lombe infiltrated the business and spent his days working on the machines. However, when the sun set, he would copy down their plans, hiding them in bales of silk marked for England. Agents working for his father later retrieved the plans and transported them to Derby.
The old Guildhall in Derby was the site where the silk-throwing machines were constructed until they later found their own home in the first purpose-built factory in England. Lombe was able to return home, but sadly, as legend has it – met his match with death, when he was poisoned by an Italian assassin only three years after his escape. Apparently, the Italians exacted their revenge.
In 1910, the Silk Mill caught fire leaving only the Bell Tower in tact. The tower is believed haunted by a young boy who was kicked down the stairs when an overseer deemed him not working hard enough. Sadly, children as young as the age of seven worked at the silk mill in the past, keeping hours that started at 5am and ended at 7pm. Some locals believe they have heard the cries of the little boy whose sounds have been heard at the foot of the stairs, as he bled to death.
Georgian House Hotel
The building that houses the Georgian House Hotel is believed to have been the work of a naval officer who served under Admiral Nelson. At one point, it also served as the home of a governor associated with the old Derbyshire County Gaol in Vernon Street. Locals have reported to seeing the ghostly image of a man that is wearing a blue suit and likes to stand on the stairs and in the area surrounding the hallway.
RiPA will hopefully be paying this place a visit real soon.
The Bell Hotel
To look at the Bell Hotel of today is to enjoy a peek into the past, as it appears pretty much the same as the original building. The hotel is one of the oldest coaching inns in Derby – built around 1680 for the Meynell family. To this day, it has been a site known to house a variety of ghosts.
For starters, there is a Victorian lady dressed in blue that is said to stand in one of the downstairs bars, appearing in front of staff and guests. Another downstairs room seems to be the stomping grounds for a poltergeist that likes to toss items about the room. One time, a barmaid suffered a blow to the back of her head when a wooden coat hanger was thrown about the room. As she looked around to see who tossed the hanger, no one else was in the room with her.
Travel upstairs in the hotel and there is a room believed to be haunted by the ghost of a serving girl who has appeared on more than one occasion. Fitted in a white mob cap and 18th century clothing, she is thought to have lost her life by the hands of the Jacobites in 1745. This murdered lost soul may appear by herself or sometimes, in the presence of children. There is a tale that during the 1930's, the landlord of the premises ran into the bedroom of his asthmatic son, who was having a coughing and choking fit. To his surprise, he caught sight of this mysterious vision of a woman dressed in 18th century costume. He claims that she was bending his son over and patting him on the back. As the father ran to his son, the image disappeared.
During the 1950s, the same room was converted into a nursery. Another story involves the ghostly woman, as she appeared during the changing of a baby's diaper. The landlady and mother of the child saw the 18th century costumed lady appear to stand over the baby. When the mother rushed over to her child to pick her up, the figure faded away.
A theory concerning the ghost is that she may have died trying to protect her child or lost her life during childbirth. Others believe that she was a nursery maid whose soul is unsettled and chooses to watch over the children that come in contact with her former home.
St Helens House
Built in 1767, it is believed that St Helens House is one of the finest examples of Georgian town houses in the area.
Needless to say, the building is said to be haunted by many ghosts. One is said to be that of a young lady, who comes sweeping down the stairs as if hurrying away from something, or someone, that is chasing her.
nother ghost is said to be that of a monk who has been seen on several occasions in different parts of the building. One previous lady worker at St Helen's House, who was employed there when it still functioned as a school, informed me that on several occasions whilst she was working late in the evening she had heard an eerie and chilling voice whisper her name. On further investigation this lady found no other person present. When questioning colleagues about her experience she was told that this type of strange occurrence had happened frequently to several people, and some members of staff were so used to this that they had nicknamed the ghost 'The Whisperer'.
Certain parts of the building are also said to have cold spots, and one gentleman, a student at the building in 1992, witnessed a grey smoky figure, seemingly almost of human shape, descend as if from the ceiling and pass through a wall. RiPA will be going here real soon so keep an eye out for that one.
This was Derby's first brick building, built in 1611. It was once much larger, having five gables until in 1855 when the Victorians drove Becket Street right through the house.
Mrs Gisbourne, the wife of Derby's mayor, was the first lady within the town to have her own coach. When she left her home her servants and retainers accompanied her to the borders of Derbyshire, either to help her negotiate the foul, deep-rutted roads of the time, or perhaps to make sure that she was really gone!
To this day, a mysterious phantom coach and horses are sometimes seen parked outside the house and a headless coachman has been seen coming through the coach archway which may still be seen on the left-hand side of the building. Also, the dark, mysterious figure of a man is seen standing in the Wardwick entrance to the house. A solicitor who once had offices in the building, moved his premises elsewhere as he could no longer stand working in the building late at night, due to the strange things that happened there when he was alone.
A lady by the name of Mrs Hall, who was a former worker at the building, experienced the following:
"I was in the upstairs rooms of Jacobean House, looking for something or other, when I felt someone brush past me and immediately turning, I caught sight of a lady in a blue dress, who turned her head to look at me, smiled and walked down the stairs. I immediately followed her, and on reaching the bottom floor I asked colleagues if they had seen anyone pass them, to which they replied that no one had, as far as they were aware.
left it at that and did not tell them why I had asked such a strange question. Later on that week, I saw the lady again, this time going up the stairs, and still wearing the same blue dress, the only difference being that she had added a white shawl which hung loosely around her shoulders. "Again I followed her.
On reaching the upper floors of the building, I could find no trace of the woman. Shortly after this event had taken place, work colleagues came rushing into the room where I was working and stated that they had just seen the ghost of a lady in blue walking up the stairs, who had vanished before their eyes.
It was at this point that others working in the room stated they too had experienced similar visitations. I saw her many times during my employment within the building, always in blue and always in the vicinity of the stairs, I was never frightened of meeting her and in many ways I looked forward to seeing her, for she always looked so gentle and kind and I don't think that she would ever hurt anyone. Whenever anything went missing - and things very often did - we always put it down to the 'Blue Lady' moving them. Some things were never found and some things would turn up days or weeks later, but never when they were needed."
There are a reported 14 ghosts in Jacobean House, making the building one of the most haunted within the city of Derby and one which RiPA would like to research.
In : UK
Tags: derby haunted ghosts england georgian silk mill jacobean house st helens house
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