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West Midlands Gazetteer
West Midlands Gazetteer
We recently caught up with Dr Jason Braithwaite, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Birmingham with an interest in anomalous experience, hallucinations, and aberrations in self-consciousness. He also has a formidable reputation for being extremely well informed on matters of the brain / mind relationship, and high quality scientific research. Read More »
The origins of Aston can be traced back to before the Domesday Book (1086-7) which shows the manor named as "Estone". Before the Norman invasion Earl Eadwin held the manor, then by 1086 it was controlled by William FitzAnsculf. This eventually passed into the hands of John atte Holte through marriage in 1367. The Holtes remained at Aston for the following two centuries. Read More »
The Beacon Hotel is a Victorian style pub and home to the Sarah Hughes Brewery. Sarah took over the pub in 1921 but by all accounts still keeps a watchful eye over the pub and not just from her realistic portrait. She was seen by one of the previous managers walking through a wall in the smoke room where there was once a door. Read More »
In 1901a report was made of a 'hut' landing in a field near Bournebrook in the West Midlands. The 'hut' - as it is described - was occupied by small men wearing tin helmets. This 'hut' then took off into the sky.
The Bush Inn dates back to Georgian times and has a long history of strange phenomena. The sounds of barrels being moved and loud bangs have been experienced here together with the sight of an ornamental plate being flung from the wall only to land intact some feet away. The sounds of heavy footsteps coming from the attic have also been heard on occasions. Read More »
The City Hospital originally opened in 1889 as an extension to the Western Road workhouse and has been known by several names including Birmingham Union Infirmary, Dudley Road Infirmary and Dudley Road Hospital. Read More »
The Crooked House, as the name suggests, has suffered from mining subsidence which creates some weird effects in the old part of the pub. Marbles appear to roll uphill on the window ledges but this is nothing paranormal, more a mix of subsidence and optical illusion but entertaining none the less. Read More »
It is no surprise that The Dudley Arms is haunted given the amount of paranormal activity reported in the surrounding area. The pub is said to be haunted by one of the previous landlords who loved the pub so much he simply refuses to leave. Read More »
The Exchange Vaults is also known as the Cuban Exchange. The ghosts that haunt this pub have military connections with both the First and Second World Wars. When Captain Roger Tart of The South Staffordshire Regiment left for the front he told regulars to save his seat in the corner of the bar. Read More »
The Fountain Inn in Tipton is well known locally for being associated with the legendary boxer, William Perry, known as The Tipton Slasher. He is reputed to have used the attic of the pub for training. This may explain the ghostly figure of a man dressed in shorts with a full moustache who has been seen here. Read More »
A good deal of paranormal activity is reported at the Giffard Arms. Apart from poltergeist type activity such as glasses moving and doors opening and closing on their own there are at least three apparitions documented here. Read More »
The haunting at the Horse and Jockey is related to a suicide at the pub. The story goes that a man walked in, ordered a double brandy and then shot himself. Nicknamed 'Cyril', he makes his presence felt in a number of ways. Loud bangs are heard and cold spots felt in the bar area and lights get turned on and off. Read More »
The Little Chop House is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a little girl who died of Scarlet Fever in the early 1900s. She seems to be something of a playful entity who likes to hide things and have them reappear in unlikely places. Read More »
The Manor Arms was originally a farmhouse until the Anson family who owned it began selling beer to passing boatmen. The canal runs immediately behind the pub and the bargees were a good source of trade. The building is mainly 18th century but parts of it are believed to date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Read More »
The following is an account of a strange experience (sent via e-mail) that happened to Roy Brown in the Northfield area of Birmingham during the early 1960s. We would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows anything about 'Mrs Kelly'. Read More »
At least three ghosts are said to haunt the Old Bulls Head Inn. Whether any of them is responsible for the poltergeist type activity here no one knows. Objects disappear and reappear again in strange places. On one occasion a book from the bookcase was left open on the table even though nobody had touched it. Read More »
The Old Still has a fine theatrical tradition as well as its resident ghosts. The famous soprano, Dame Maggie Teyte, spent her formative years here and many stars of showbiz have called in for a drink whilst treading the boards at the nearby Grand Theatre. Read More »
The Olde White Rose is a 16th century building with extensive cellars. It was in the cellar system early one morning that landlord John Denston clearly witnessed an apparition. At the end of a long disused cellar was a drop which was convenient for lifting empty barrels up to ground level. Read More »
Three ghosts are said to haunt the Pie Factory. The most active is known as Nobby, a former landlord who chose to hang himself in the cellar. He is seen wearing a long black cloak and is by no means restricted to the cellar. Nobby has the rather unfortunate habit of pulling at men's clothing especially in the gentleman's toilet! Read More »
The Prince Albert Hotel is reputedly haunted by Miss Williams, a rather masculine former landlady. Miss Williams had a secret lover by the name of Anna who was in the Royal Navy. In order to keep their liaisons secret Miss Williams would light a candle in Room 13 as a signal that it was safe for Anna to meet her lover. Read More »
In 1881 Frank Podmore met Edward Pease, a young stockbroker, at a Spiritualist meeting in London. They discovered a mutual interest in socialism, and joined the Progressive Association, founded in November 1882. They took a keen interest in the utopian philosophy of Thomas Davidson, and with a few others formed a society, the Fellowship of the New Life. Read More »
Oldnall Road, a seemingly unremarkable two-mile rural stretch of B-road between the towns of Halesowen and Stourbridge in the West Midlands, hit the international headlines a few months ago (1) following reports of a series of sightings of an apparition. Reports of 'road ghosts' are nothing unusual, they form an important part of 'ghost lore' throughout the world (2). Read More »
At the turn of the 20th century, visionaries began to dream that the new science of aeronautics would bring universal peace on the Earth by love or fear. Love because as people travelled more they would get to know each other as human beings and no longer as sinister foreigners; fear, because the destructive power of aerial bombardment would render war unthinkable. Read More »
Sedgley Beacon lies some 237 metres (777 feet) above sea level in the heart of the West Midlands. It is said that the top of Beacon Hill is the highest point between Sedgley and the Ural Mountains in Russia. Commanding views were once enjoyed right across the industrial Black Country and beyond to the Clee and Malvern hills and the mountains of Wales. Read More »
Roy Palmer in his 'The Folklore Of Warwickshire (1976)' refers to the following haunting case in he West Midlands, though I have not been able to discover any further details. 'People living in a house at Short Heath, Birmingham, have heard a noisy ghost, thought to be female, banging about and leaving the smell of perfume behind her.'
The Shrewsbury Arms is haunted by a seemingly benign chap nicknamed Old Joe. He is a figure in a cloth cap who has been seen in the cellar and walking around the bar after the pub is closed. He has been seen by a number of people over the years but there is no clue as to why he is associated with the pub. Read More »
According to David Taylor's excellent article 'Scareships or Motherships : The British phantom airship scare 1909 – 1918', in May 1909, multiple witnesses saw a cigar shaped airship, without lights, passing overhead on several consecutive nights.
The Somerset House pub has a long history of ghostly goings on. This is possibly associated with bodies being stored in the cellar in the 1940s whilst coffins were being made on the premises. Read More »
The present day Spring Cottage dates back to the turn of the 20th century and was built on the site of a former pub. The former pub on the site was reputedly used as a temporary gaol for prisoners in Victorian times. They would be incarcerated in the cellar where there was no chance of escape. Read More »
Out of the dark, supernatural depths of Victorian England one name stands out. Jack.
Not Jack the Ripper, but a more supernatural fiend - Spring Heeled Jack! Read More »
The Starving Rascal is named after an event in Victorian times which has had lasting repercussions. A beggar turned up at the pub during a particularly harsh winter to ask for some food and drink. He was cruelly turned away by the landlord. Before he died of exposure and malnutrition outside on the steps the beggar placed a curse on the pub. Read More »
The Ashwood is a fairly modern pub at the centre of a residential estate. Whilst nothing has actually been seen at the pub, nevertheless the building is prone to some unusual phenomena. Occasionally, singing described as operatic has been heard even though there was no obvious cause. Read More »
Roughly thirty years ago Detective Constable Roger Ryder had an experience as he passed the Badgers Sett, then known as the Gypsies’ Tent on the A456. An interview with the now retired detective appeared in the Black Country Bugle in 2007. Read More »
The Black Country Arms was formerly The Green Dragon and is recorded as far back as 1627 when it was part of the municipal buildings. It became part of the Magistrate's Court in 1910 but is now returned to its former use as a pub. Read More »
The Brittania is nicknamed 'Sallies' after Sallie Williams who ran the quaint old pub until her death in 1991. Much activity has been experienced here. Dogs seem particularly afraid of the entrance to the cellar and have been known to follow some unseen presence around the lounge. Things often get moved around and sometimes go missing only to turn up in unusual places. Read More »
Recently (April 2013) re-opened the The Bull’s Head on Limekiln Lane in Earlswood has been a public house since 1832, though the building dates back to 1740 when it was used by navies working on the Stratford Upon Avon canal. Their website states that it is rumored to be haunted by a ghost of a lime kiln worker.
The Courthouse is situated in one of the most haunted areas of Dudley. Much of the activity here is auditory with noises coming from the cellar when there has been no one down there. The names of staff are often called coming from the room upstairs again when there is nobody up there. Read More »
The Crabmill used to be known as The Oldswinford and at one time many years ago it was a Doctor's surgery. Temporary managers are particularly wary here as they are likely to be treated to loud noises coming from the empty rooms in the early hours of the morning. Read More »
A previous landlord, known as Bob, allegedly haunts The Crown. He died in the cellar from a heart attack many years ago. Dogs are prone to behaving strangely when Bob is about and on one occasion a previous landlord found himself locked in his own bedroom even though he was on his own. Read More »
The Greyhound and Punchbowl is an ancient pub which has the unusual feature of a tree trunk in the middle of the pub. A number of figures have been sighted here. A tall man in a black cloak and large black hat has been seen around the kitchen area. When staff go to investigate further of course there is no one there. Read More »
The Hog's Head used to be known as The Vine. As far as is known there are two ghosts here. One is a train driver called Marber who was killed in the bombing during World War Two. He is apt to sit quietly at the bar before simply disappearing. Read More »
The Malt Shovel is situated in one of the most haunted areas of Dudley. One of the ghosts here is called the Blue Boy and is only seen in the upstairs windows of the pub usually as an indistinct, misty form.
Another of the apparitions is a small person who walks in accompanied by a black dog. When staff go to look where they have gone they are nowhere to be seen. Read More »
The Miners Arms has played host to a few strange experiences. A figure has been seen a few times in the pub who simply disappears when he is spotted. He has been known to approach the bar as if to order a drink and then simply vanish. Read More »
Despite the name the New Talbot is nearly a hundred years old and underwent refurbishment in 2012. After the pub manager lost his phone whilst cleaning up after hours he decided to check security camera footage to see where it had gone. Part of the footage shows the phone flying off a chair and landing on the floor. Read More »
The Noahs Ark was once run by an ex professional boxer, Tom Cartwright, who stood no nonsense from anyone.
Tom was rudely awoken one night by a figure he took to be an intruder. Naturally he brought his boxing skills to bear and attempted to floor the man standing by his bed. As his fists passed straight through the young man, he vanished into thin air. Read More »
The Old Cat is certainly old and was originally converted from a row of cottages which would have been around at the time of the English Civil War. Cavalier figures from the war have been seen in other parts of Wordsley and it is indeed a Royalist soldier in full attire who has startled staff mainly around the cellar area. Read More »