The Abbey Inn, Newlay
The Abbey Inn at 99 Pollard Lane has been described as one of Leeds most Haunted pubs. Dating from the mid 19th century, the Inn was also been used as a mortuary until the 1950s, which may explain to some why it seems to have numerous ghosts.
The following extract is from an article by in the Yorkshire Evening Post dated 15 May 2008.’The pub’s own history is interesting. It began life as a farmhouse in the 18th century, but by 1826 it was an inn. By the turn of the century it was owned by the Whitaker family, who were keen to regulate the drinking habits of the workforce at their dyeing plant next door.
It takes its name from nearby Kirkstall Abbey and local legend says a tunnel links the building to the Abbey grounds. The picturesque setting between the Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal makes it a popular point for walkers to stop off for food and liquid refreshment.
Its reputation for ghosts partly stems from the fact that for many years the pub doubled as a mortuary. The bodies – many of them suicide victims pulled from the canal and river nearby – were laid out in the room now occupied by the pool table.
Curiously, having the odd body around didn’t hamper trade – it just meant that customers had to pick their way past the coffins on the way to the toilet.
According to the pub’s website, at least four ghosts are reputed to frequent the Abbey, including a grey lady, a man with a Guy Fawkes-style hat and a mysterious cloaked figure. There are reports of taps that won’t turn off and bar stools moving around by themselves.
Licensee Martin Lockett has yet to see any of them since becoming landlord last summer – but he has heard a girl’s giggling coming from a deserted cellar. “The ghostly goings-on all add to the atmosphere, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “Some people get a bit nervous occasionally, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest – and I live here!”