Clerkenwell House of Detention Most Haunted REVIEW


CHRISTINE MILLER takes a look back at Most Haunted: Clerkenwell House of Detention

Episode Title: Clerkenwell House of Detention
Location: Clerkenwell, London

Series: 2 Episode Number: 22
Originally broadcast: 2003

Medium: Derek Acorah
Parapsychologist: Phil Whyman, Dr. Matthew Smith & Dr. Ciaran O’Keeffe

Clerkenwell House of Detention was established in the early 1600s as an underground holding prison, where criminals would be placed until more suitable accommodation could be found for them to serve their sentences out in, or worse, where they would await execution for their crimes.

Rebuilt in 1845 due to an arson attack in 1780, Clerkenwell then became a remand centre. As was typical in places like this, the conditions were considered to be horrendous and inhumane, with men, women and even small children thrown in together. Up to 10,000 of them a year would live in this damp, disease ridden building which was barely fit for the rats that inhabited it, let alone human beings. 

Clerkenwell House of Detention Most Haunted REVIEW 1

The cries and screams of young children have been heard, and dark slow-moving shadows have been seen lurking around the building. There is one particular spirit that is said to enjoy locking in the living by closing and bolting shut doors behind them. However, the most active location in Clerkenwell is one particular cell where the ghost of an elderly woman is said to frequent, where she rummages frantically looking for something. She has also been seen staring blankly at visitors, only to disappear in front of their eyes. Other paranormal phenomena includes phantom footsteps and cold spots; you name it, it happens here (allegedly).

Prior to filming, one of the camera crew hear a shuffling noise coming from the corridor. Upon investigating, it became clear that there was no one (living) who could have been responsible for this strange noise.

No other paranormal group has ever successfully stayed the night at this location, so will the Most Haunted team last the night? Let’s find out…

Derek Becomes Emotional   

Derek Acorah picks up on a man name Jack Shepard who apparently reeks of B.O. even in the afterlife. He was sentenced to hang (presumably not because he stank). Also, Derek picks up on a little girl who was imprisoned because her mother, Elizabeth, was a thief and incarcerated here, and so the poor child had to serve time alongside her mother. He also correctly picks up on the spirit of the old lady who, it turns out makes deliberate attempts to physically manifest to visitors; this would therefore explain why she has been sighted so often.

Ominously, Derek states that there is somewhere he needs to go within the building, somewhere where evil lurks…

The team move to the particular wing where Derek feels that the evil energy lies. He said that there has been so much cruelty in this area. Derek becomes increasingly unsettled and said he feels like he needs to physically wretch where “horrible things” took place at the hands of a “despicable soul”. This man was a prisoner jailed for rape who was trusted after so many years by the jailers, and was allowed to go amongst his fellow inmates and behave like a tyrant.

Derek gets more emotional when trying to describe what this horrible man did to his jailed counterparts. He manages to communicate psychically with the man who wants them to “go because he will hurt us”. In graphic detail, and after much persuasion by Yvette, Derek reluctantly details what this spirit wishes to do to Yvette and the rest of the female members of the crew. This part however, was not broadcast due to its extremely graphic nature.     

After this, Derek needs a break but he cannot shake off the images that were placed in his head by “Michael”, the rapist and as it transpires, killer. Even in death, he still wishes to kill the living.

Make-up artist Cath is sitting next to a female colleague when there is suddenly a bang behind her which makes her jump. This is validation to Derek that Michael has begun to try and intimidate the female members of the team. Switching from upset to sheer anger, Derek shouts out for Michael and storms out of the crew room to presumably find him, as he “can hear his voice” somewhere. The crew follow Derek through what feels like miles of entwined tunnels when Derek suddenly says he is standing in front of him. Derek again begins to list the barbarous things that Michael is supposed to have done to his victims, but thankfully the sound is cut so as not to broadcast this, as it was deemed too monstrous to televise.

Filming is immediately halted because Derek becomes emotional again. However, after quite a break Derek feels able to continue but warns the female members of the crew how imperative it is that they stay together.

A Violent Cohort 

Perhaps unwisely, the team switch to night vision cameras, and immediately run into a “cohort” of Michael’s, called Joseph. Not dissimilar to his friend, Joseph is a nasty individual. Suddenly, Karl feels like a razor blade has been run across his forehead, and on inspection it becomes clear that Karl is bleeding from his forehead, from what does indeed look to be a razor blade cut. Another male member of staff feels as if he is being choked, and was naturally left feeling extremely unnerved.

The crew continue on with their investigation and hear footsteps, feel cold spots and are constantly under the impression that they are being watched. Rather them than me!

And with that, this episode of Most Haunted is concluded.  

Tell us what you thought of this Clerkenwell House of Detention Most Haunted episode in the comments section below.


  1. Im watching this episode now, and I must say watching reruns from when I wached it years ago is VERY rewarding! I for one believe Derek was a talented medium who maybe took things too far a couple times, but in no way do I think he was a fake. You can tell when real mediums pick up on things, the surprise they show in their faces and eyes let you know they’re NOT being fed information. I believed Derek back then, and I still do. I still love watching him work! and I love watching Yvette freak out! Lord above! I’d love to visit London one day and see all the haunted sites. Here in America, things just aren’t as old! Having two degrees in English Lit and Medieval History, I can’t say how much it would mean to me to see these old castles, prisons, towers, etc in England, and the rest of Europe, and I hope one day to visit!!


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