GAYLE FIDLER takes us on a spooky tour of Stockton-on-Tees’ haunted places
The market town of Stockton-on-Tees was once home to the Bishops of Durham, who brought prosperity to the area. Stockton went on to become an important part of Britain’s industrial heritage. In 1825, Stockton became the destination for the world’s first passenger railway.
During a walk around Stockton you will find traces of history.
The town has a variety of beautiful listed buildings. Through a network of alleyways, you will find Green Dragon Yard with 18th Century buildings and home to one of Britain’s oldest Georgian Theatres.
During recent renovation work on a Georgian townhouse, several subterranean dwellings were found. Reports have also been made of an underground tunnel network linking properties in the town.
Is there something sinister that survives in Stockton? Here are five reportedly haunted places, that seem to suggest there may be.
Castlegate Shopping Centre, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AR
Castlegate is built on the remains of Stockton Castle, one of the early residences of the Bishops of Durham. During building work on the shopping complex, skeletons were unearthed in the area where Castlegate now stands.
The building has a reputation for more than shopping. There have been various reports over the years of strange sightings. Security guards on nightshift have heard music playing when the building was empty. Members of the public have reported seeing the reflections of children in changing room mirrors. Staff have reported being touched on the shoulder by invisible hands.
Preston Park Museum and Grounds, Stockton on Tees, TS18 3RH.
Built in 1825 as a large family estate. Preston Hall is an impressive building, with beautiful grounds that are open to the public.
Part of the track bed of the original Darlington to Stockton railway line can be found there. Over the years, there have been sightings of a spectral Highwayman riding near the tracks.
The museum also has a Victorian street which will transport you back to a bygone age. The hall has its very own Grey Lady who is said to walk up the staircase.
Like every great house, there is a ghostly tale to be told in the cellars. A woman and her dog are said to roam down here, usually disappearing through a solid wall.
Red Lion Pub, Harland Place, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1AL
The Red Lion pub has an explosive past. Extended in the 1920s, the pub took over part of a neighbouring property which was the home of a distinguished military family.
In 1812 during a ball at the property an argument took place between two guests. The disagreement culminated with a duel by pistol the following morning, resulting in the death of one of the duelling party.
Witnesses have reported hearing a gunshot at the back of the Red Lion over the years. Could this be the sound of the fatal duel, still playing out over 200 years later?
Elmwood Community Centre, Darlington Road, Stockton on Tees, TS18 5EP
Built as a large family residence in 1873. Elmwood has been the home of several Stockton’s most distinguished people over the years.
These have included Colonel Gilbert Ormerod Spence, who led his men over the top at the battle of The Somme. He went on to become a prominent war artist. Another resident, Harold Kitching won an Olympic medal in 1908 lived there until the start of the Second World War.
Elmwood became a community centre in the 1950s and is still used as one today.
According to local reports, there have been sightings of a woman wearing a housemaid’s uniform at Elmwood. She has been seen staring out of the windows and has been linked to a servant who committed suicide by hanging in one of the upper story rooms.
The Locomotion Hotel, Eaglescliffe, TS16 0BU
The Locomotion hotel was originally a railway station waiting room.
It seems that some people are still there long after their train left.
A woman in Victorian dress has been seen smiling at staff. Glasses have been cleared away on their own.
The women’s toilet doors have been known to open and close themselves. On one occasion a terrified cleaner spotted a pair of phantom feet with no body attached.
Have you seen a ghost in Stockton-on-Tees? Tell us about it in the comments section!
GAYLE FIDLER – You say, “According to local reports, there have been sightings of a woman wearing a housemaid’s uniform at Elmwood. She has been seen staring out of the windows and has been linked to a servant who committed suicide by hanging in one of the upper story rooms”. Where did you obtain this information from?
I saw this comment in the booklet “Haunted Stockton-on-Tees” by Bob Woodhouse. He says Elmwood is haunted by the ghost of a housemaid who hanged herself in an upstairs bedroom.
I have researched the history of Elmwood from it being built and I checked the local coroner’s reports, in the archives, and found nothing at all about this hanging. I asked the author where the information came from and all he said was, “Somebody told me” ! Not very good research !
Also, Mr Kitching’s daughter, Mrs Southall, (the only child to ever have been born there) told me that in the 17 years the family lived in the property nobody ever heard or saw anything unusual.
So what proof do you have to corroborate this story?
Many years ago I was with two friends walking through Oxbridge Cemetery . We heard voices and looked around .We all saw two adults ,a child and a dog walking amongst the gravestones , right in the middle of them all at the top end opposite the old scrap yard but not near the entrance to the graveyard. The child and dog were running around ,weaving in and out. We could hear their voices but not loudly enough to hear what was said. We heard the child laughing. One of our group said something really funny and we looked at him and all laughed,distracted for a few seconds. When we looked back up literally seconds later the family group and dog were gone. They were not near an exit/entrance or behind a tree or anything. We looked all over but they were simply gone. There was nowhere for them to go . It was rather unnerving.
Years later I came across a report in a local history book that described just such spectoral sightings in the same place ! It sent shivers down my spine.
Fantastic that you have done some actual research. That is the problem with ghost stories usually , there is often zero proof or supporting evidence. People love a good ghost story and often don’t really care if it is true I think. Oh well, I suppose it is just a good tale to tell in a stormy night .
HELLO EVERYONE WHO COMES ACROSS MY POST . I HAVE HEARD OF GAYLE FIDLER A FEW TIMES OVER THE LAST 5 YRS AND HAVE TRIED TO COMMENT ON HER POST .. POINT OF IT ALL. AS A CHILD I WAS NEVER FRIENGTENED OF ANYTHING HELTER SKELTER MOVIES HAMMER HOUSE OF HORRORS SO AS THE YOUNGEST OF OLDER GANG GROWNING UP IN THORNABY (VALIANT WAY ) IN 80S THEY DARED ME TO GO INTO THE G REY OR ORANGE HOUSE FOR NIGHT NEAR JOLLY FARMERS ON THBY RD. I STAYED FOR 4HRS I SEEN AND HEARD A FEW THINGS THAT CHANGED MY FOCUS AND DIRECTION TO LIFE FROM THAT DAY ON. I WAS 8YRS OLD I STAYED BYMYSELF . I MOVED FROM THORNABY IN 84 AND HAVE DODGED SOME DISASTERS OVER YRS FLIGHTS CAR ACCIDENTS ETC BY STRONG FEELINGS ITS JUST ALL TO WIERD TO EXPLAIN AT TIMES I STARTED TO SUFFER BAD MENTAL HEALTH AT 8YRS I WENT REALLY QUIET MY PERSONALLITY TOTALLY CHANGED .THIS HOUSE WAS ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT BEEN HAUNTED GROWNING UP MAY COMMENT IF GET SOME RESPONSES CAN ANYONE ELSE REMMMEMBER THIS HOUSE IT WAS EMPTY FOR YRS SINSE 70S .I CAME BACK FROM LIVING IN USA IN 2010 AND ITS ALL CHANGED KNOW A COMPLETLY NEW BUILD PEOPLE HAVE THEIR OWN OPINION SOK THANKS FOR READING
I was in elmwood community center one morning, a maid walked pat me in a black and white uniform, this was at the back of the community center near the toilets and side entrance.