The Ghosts of Smethwick Swimming Centre
A 1930s art deco swimming pool is not the first place you think of when people mention the most haunted places in the country. So why is this 85-year-old building bursting at the seams with spirits and spectres?
The answer to that is not any easy one to give. And after you’ve read this article maybe you could put your own theory into the mix.
The Subways below the pools hold the most paranormal activity and even without the resident spooks looks like something from a horror movie. Built from reinforced concreate the dark tunnels act as a storage area, but their original purpose was for the storage of staging from the concerts and dances the baths used to hold during the winter season. Hundreds of years prior to the building the land was fields and farm land, but a secret was kept on the land which still holds true today.
When the building was built 300 bodies were discovered in a medieval plague pit 10 ft. below the main reception, these bodies still remain there to this day. The area above this mass grave is the old 2nd world war air raid shelter and forms part of the subway system. Within this area on many occasions has been seen the ghost of a young boy covered in white powder. The interesting thing about the powder is that plague victims were covered with lime powder to stop the spread of infection. Is this the powder the ghost boy is covered in? This boy has frightened many an unsuspecting member of staff or contractor as they turned on the lights and then he vanishes in front of their eyes.
The wood store the far end of the subways holds the spirit of a male energy who holds a hatred of women. So much so that when a group of all female ghost hunters were in that room he threw a heavy wooden table at them, causing a mass panic for the exit. This mystery spook only shows himself in the form of a mist that travels from room to room.
Emily is the spirit of a little 8-year-old girl who has been witness many a time by paranormal investigators who have visited the baths. Not only has she shown herself as a full apparition but also held people’s hands and whispered in ears. Through communications from mediums she has told of how her house was located near the large pool hundreds of years ago, where she passed from a disease, she likes to come back and communicate with people and on the whole seems very happy.
The man in the boiler suit has a habit of saying hello to people who are doing work in the subways. Dressed in a navy boiler suit and red hair he often greets people as they walk around. Contractors genuinely believe they are talking to a member of staff and have had long conversations with this ghost. Its only when staff explain that there are no staff working on site of that description that makes their jaws drop and hair on the back of the neck stand up. In fact, many a lone worker has reported to the office that there are gangs of kids running around the subways and they can’t get on with their work.
Add to the mix ghost of cats and dogs and even a horse has been seen makes the subways very haunted indeed. But the most terrifying place in the whole building must be the morgue. The Morgue was used during the war as a body storage area for all the local bombing victims. In this area a pungent smell of death hangs around and extreme temperature drops have been recorded. So cold in fact you can see your own breath. Orbs have been seen by the naked eye and a dark figure of a man with a long beard and hair is often seen. The chute where bodies were lowered into the morgue from the carpark holds a strange atmosphere of its own, with people only being able to stand in there for a couple of seconds before they feel sick. Grown men who have visited on ghost hunts have burst into tears for no reason and strange groans have been recorded.
The subways aren’t the only area to hold a spiritual presence in the building, most of the rooms hold a ghostly tale. But I can assure you that their presence has never caused any harm.
We have had mysterious footsteps heard in the reception area when no one was about. Puddles in the changing rooms have had fresh footprints come out of them even though the building has been closed for 12 hours. Plant room equipment has been switched off over night. The ladies’ toilet upstairs people have seen a women dressed in RAF uniform. Ghostly children’s voices have been heard by staff locking the balcony after the public have left for the night. Back stage area a woman has been seen pushing a tea trolley and leaving the scent of lavender perfume. The stage where the Beatles and other big bands from the 60s played has had doors slammed shut and door handles moved by itself.
Even though we have our fair share of ghosts on site, the building retains a happy community feel and has an amazing history. Maybe that’s why the spirits remain? If you want to find these spirits for yourself Smethwick Swimming Centre are hosting a Ghost Tour on Halloween day. On Wednesday October 31st from 7.30pm-8.30pm you can explore the depths of the subways and learn more about Smethwick’s gruesome history! Tickets can be purchased at the reception for £3.50, over 16s only. Be sure to snap up a ticket quick as spaces will be limited.