3 Haunted Places in Chatham
Stewart | On 10, Apr 2016
The Brook Theatre
Phantom soldiers and a ghostly nurse are said to haunt the basement of Chatham’s Brook Theatre!
Along The Brook in Chatham you’ll come across the impressive four hundred seater Brook Theatre.
The Grade II listed building hasn’t always been a theatre though…
In fact it started life out in 1900 as the Chatham’s Town Hall!
It became the Brook Theatre in 1998 when the new Medway Council made the use of the old Town Hall redundant.
Over the years the Brook Theatre has got a reputation amongst the locals for being haunted…
The basement of the theatre is said to have bricked up tunnels which at one time were connected to the Naval Hospital beside the Great Lines and to the Dockyard via Fort Amherst.
Terrified members of staff often reported seeing the ghostly apparition of a nurse in an old fashioned uniform wandering around the building.
Ghostly soldiers have also been seen in the basement of the building by spooked witnesses.
Unfortunately, due to the public nature of the building many of the ghost stories concerning it has been muted as not to scare off visitors.
But I’m sure that many more ghostly stories will come to light over the coming years!
Just behind the Brook Theatre along Whiffen’s Avenue you’ll find the Town Hall gardens.
The Town Hall gardens are actually an old burial ground which was first opened in 1828 to elevate the overcrowded St Mary’s churchyard in Dock Road.
The gardens are said to be haunted by the ghostly apparition of a young woman dressed in a white gown who’s said to wander near the old gravestones.
She’s been nicknamed as the Lady of the Tombstones as nobody actually knows of her true identity!
The Theatre Royal
A ghost called Humphrey and the ghost of a green man are waiting for you at the haunted Theatre Royal!
At the end of Chatham’s High Street you’ll come across the renovated former Theatre Royal building.
The Theatre Royal building dates back to 1899.
It was a very popular venue in its heydays but eventually closed its doors to the paying public in 1955.
For many years it was in a derelict state but recently it has been renovated and is in the process of being transformed into a complex with cafes, restaurants, bars and apartments.
Like many historic British theatres the Theatre Royal has a few ghost stories to tell…
The Theatre Royal’s most famous ghost is that of Humphrey.
Legend says that Humphrey was a former trapeze artist who made a couple of errors during his act in front of Edward VII.
He was so humiliated by his bad performance that he committed suicide by hanging himself from the dress circle!
But there’s also an alternative story which says that Humphrey is the ghost of a former actor called Frisby Bracknol who was sacked from the theatre in 1907 for being constantly drunk.
It’s said that he was found hanging in one of the circle boxes a week later!
Spooked witnesses would often catch the ghostly apparition of Humphrey watching the performances at the theatre.
It’s said that if he liked the show he would stay to the end but if he didn’t he would walk out.
The most common place witnesses saw the ghostly Humphrey was in the dress circle.
Most witnesses described him as being a happy ghost with a kind looking face.
Members of staff thought of him as a guardian of the theatre.
The theatre was also believed to be haunted by a ghostly woman in a long evening dress, the ghost of an old lady often seen on the ground floor, the spirit of a little girl in the toilets, the ghost of a former employee called Charlie Monks and last but not least there was the ghostly Green Man.
The Green Man was said to haunt one of the boxes which overlooks the stage.
Apparently he was dressed from head to toe in green… a green suit, a green shirt and a green tie!
The ghostly little girl in the toilets was often blamed for opening and shutting cubicle doors, unwinding toilet rolls and throwing hand soap on the floor.
Phantom footsteps, the smell of old fashioned tobacco smoke, doors banging shut on their own accord, ghostly voices, tables and chairs being mysteriously upturned were just some of the paranormal activity reported to have taken place within the old theatre!
The tunnels of Fort Horsted are said to be extremely haunted!
Just off Primrose Close situated to the south of Chatham you’ll find the historic Fort Horsted.
The Victorian fort dates back to 1889 and has now been designated a scheduled monument.
Horsted was one of five land forts built around the towns of Chatham and Gillingham in the late 19th century to protect HM Dockyard Chatham from attack.
Although the fort became obsolete by 1910 it was used by the military during both World Wars.
Today it’s actually run as a rather unique business centre.
It’s open to public groups but only by prior arrangement.
Fort Horsted does have a reputation for being haunted, so much so that it was even featured on the hit US ghost hunting show Ghost Adventures.
Local legend says that the dark tunnels of Fort Horsted are patrolled by a large ghostly dog which has a black shaggy coat.
Terrified witnesses have also reported seeing shadowy figure within the tunnels.
The ghostly apparitions of a mother and her daughter have been seen by spooked witnesses walking around the grounds of the fort.
Apparently they’re dressed in old fashioned clothing!
Some visitors to the fort have even reported hearing the spooky voice of a little girl.
In fact, a lot of visitors to the fort say that its energy makes them feel uncomfortable, ill and extremely nervous.
Some of the fort’s security guards have remarked that they really don’t like patrolling certain areas of the building at night!
Guests visiting the fort’s tunnels have reported hearing phantom footsteps walking towards them only to see nobody appear.
The fort offers ghost hunting tours which in the past have recorded EVPs of men, women and even children!
Neil Arnold (2012) Haunted Chatham. The History Press