Monday, 31 October 2011

Ghosts and ghouls

As tonight is Halloween we thought we’d delve headfirst through the dust and dirt to find tales of some ghostly visits from the archive...

In 1920 the Together Trust purchased 22 acres of land in Cheadle, Cheshire in order to take children out of the slums of Manchester into the cleaner air of the countryside. With the land came Belmont House which was formally the residence of the Milne family. The Milne’s were well known in Manchester due to their Department Store, which was set up on Deansgate and known to many as Kendal Milne (now House of Frasier) since 1836. Belmont itself was built around the 1800s and adapted by Alfred Waterhouse in 1864, a famous architect best known for his design of the Natural History Museum in London and Manchester Town Hall


Belmont House, Cheadle
When the Together Trust took over the building it adapted it so it could be used to house around 40 girls. Here they would attend local schools and church in Cheadle during the day. The charity made use of the house for 63 years until it was sold in 1983. The building is now used as a Nursing Home.

It is reputed that the sound of a girl’s laughter can often be heard at night down the long corridors, despite the fact that no young people have lived there for around 30 years. From the records it is known that at least one girl died at the house, around the time of the Manchester Blitz, after an incident whilst lighting the boiler house fire. Maybe she’s never left Belmont...

Crossley Gaddum, Cheadle
One of the charity’s other homes on the site is also said to contain ‘friendly’ ghosts. Crossley Home, now Inscape House School, housed children for around 58 years until 1981. The teachers working there today have spoken of things that go bump in the night. A resident of the home, from the 1960s to 1970s, talks of various objects that have gone missing and then suddenly fallen from mid air in front of its owner. The charity is still resident on this Cheadle site but no staff member stays too long after dark!  

On a final note, in the 1890s one small boy around 8 years old was taken into the Children’s Shelter on Chatham Street, after being found wandering the streets. On being presented with his bed for the night the small child turned round to the Matron and said, "Please, how do you get in?" 
Not a ghost story but scary nonetheless!   

Happy Halloween!

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