GHOST HUNT AT SMETHWICK BATHS
SANDWELL, WEST MIDLANDS
History of Smethwick Baths
Smethwick Swimming Centre, previously known as Thimblemill Baths, has gone through many interesting changes, had famous faces pass through its doors and also survived the Second World War. Opened on the 30th March 1933 and designed by Chester Button and Roland Fletcher, the art deco features of the building were inspired by the high arched roof of aircraft hangers in France. In turn these features were derived from the Scandinavian timber construction of the Breslau exhibition pavilion in the early 1920s. Other similar designs can also be found at the Royal Horticultural Hall in London.
During WWII, the vast network of underground tunnels and cellars which lie beneath the complex were used as an air raid shelter; posters and drawings from that time can still be seen to this day. There was also a U.S. Air Force base just around the corner from the baths and it is thought that they would have made use of this underground space too.
After the end of the war, Smethwick Baths really came to life. From April to September the pool was open for swimming and from October to March it was used for dances, boxing and other public events. During the latter season, the pool was drained (taking two whole days) and boarded over with a sprung floor. During the 1960s it became known as an entertainment venue, with Tommy Cooper, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Who and even The Beatles performing there. However, the end of the decade saw the end of live performances and all attention was focussed on making it succeed as a public swimming baths. And while it remains that way today, its grand history remains visible just beneath the surface.
Ghosts of Smethwick Baths
Paranormal activity is rife at this venue and so plentiful that there just isn't room to detail all of it here. However, without a doubt, the most haunted part of the building is underground, in the aforementioned network of tunnels and cellars which are both creepy and disorientating before any mention of the supernatural is even made.
Apparitions in this area include a man in a green boiler suit, two gentleman apparently engaged in a frantic chase, a black American Airman and even a horse, to name but a few. The phantom equine may seem out of place until one learns that this particular part of the cellars was built on/underneath a moated farm.
The underground room once used as a morgue apparently plays host to a spirit of a man with long hair and beard, who has shown himself on several occasions. Meanwhile, in the air raid shelter, strange blue lights have been seen and often members of staff will enter this area to find pyramids of stones that have been neatly built on the floor. A small boy has been sensed in here and many paranormal investigations have picked up on a girl who goes by the name of Emily. In recent years an escape tunnel was discovered which now runs underneath a block of flats. One resident of these flats has regularly seen a little girl in her home and it is thought likely that this is the ghost of Emily too.
During some refurbishment work in one of the tunnels, a workman kept complaining about a group of children who were running about and making a lot of noise, and despite the management's reassurance that there was no way any children could be down there, he would not be convinced. Another workman, upon appearing at the manager's door breathless and white as a sheet, described how he had been working in the cellars when he looked up to see the ghostly face of a little boy staring back at him through a hole in the wall.
However, while the tunnels and cellars are certainly very active, they do not have an exclusive claim to the paranormal activity within the building. In the changing rooms upstairs, the lights are on a motion sensor, yet after-hours they often switch on in sequence, as if someone is walking around, despite the doors being locked. Footsteps are also heard emanating from this area in similar circumstances, and wet footprints have appeared hours after the last visitor has left, leaving staff members utterly baffled.
In a corridor which used to be the backstage area for performers, people have seen a woman walking up and down, accompanied by the smell of strong perfume. Could she have been one of the acts who featured during the baths' heyday as an entertainment venue, still treading the boards after all this time? Perhaps it is a member of her erstwhile audience who staff call 'George', a spirit gentleman who apparently has his own seat on the balcony, a sprung chair which is often seen to be down, just as if someone is sitting on it.
We really have only touched the surface here in terms of the paranormal activity experienced on a regular basis at Smethwick Baths. It is certainly one of the more unusual venues we have seen on our travels, which makes us confident that you will be as eager to investigate it as we are!
Ghost Hunt at Smethwick Baths Includes:
~ Platform Readings from our Spiritualist Mediums
~ Tour of the Baths with History & Ghost Stories
~ Late-Night Ghost Hunt & Paranormal Investigation
~ Exclusive Access to Underground Tunnels and Cellars
~ Opportunity to use Ghost-Hunting Equipment
~ Séance and Controlled 'Contact Experiments'
~The event will run from approx. 8pm - 2:30am~
Ticket Price: £39 per person
A deposit option of £15 per person is available with balance payable 3 weeks before the event. Please call us on 0845 201 3994 if you would like to use this option.
All bookings are subject to our Terms and Conditions
PHONE US ON: 0845 201 3994