Spooky happenings at Morecambe Winter Gardens

WINTER GARDENS: The view of the theatre from the prom, we guess in the 1970s.
WINTER GARDENS: The view of the theatre from the prom, we guess in the 1970s.
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The Morecambe Winter Gardens is the town’s oldest surviving theatre and is often a talking a point of haunted happenings.

Built in 1897 the theatre was once known as the Victoria Pavilion and could seat more than 2,000 people.

WINTER GARDENS: The theatre packed for a performance during its heyday.

WINTER GARDENS: The theatre packed for a performance during its heyday.

Over the years the Grade II* listed building has attracted curious fans from all over the world to discover whether anything spooky lurks behind its walls.

TV’s Most Haunted crew filmed in the theatre in 2008 and reported, “there was more activity in the Winter Gardens than in other places that were said to be genuinely haunted.”

Tour groups have held private events to take the public around in search of ghosts.

“I’ve never believed it was haunted but I’ve had a few incidents happen to me,” said Evelyn Archer, chair of the Friends of the Winter Gardens.

WINTER GARDENS: A postcard showing inside the Winter Gardens Ballroom.

WINTER GARDENS: A postcard showing inside the Winter Gardens Ballroom.

Mrs Archer heads the group of volunteers who have worked for more than 30 years to raise funds for the theatre and keep it in the public eye.

The theatre closed in 1977 but was opened some years later by the Friends of the Winter Gardens.

Mrs Archer explains one incident which took place during the group’s annual meeting.

“To get the people to come we decided to play the film, The Entertainer at the end,” she said.

Evelyn Archer.

Evelyn Archer.

“We got everybody sat around, there was quite a few of us, when it came to the end of the film me and one of the members decided to go and lock the back doors ready for closing later.

“We came back to sit down, waiting for the film to start when I saw this brown figure to the side of me which ran right through to the back.

“I said to Joyce, where do you think he is going?

“So we went down the hall and there was 
nobody there, it just disappeared through the wall, it was spooky.

“Joyce said to me oh your face is as white as a ghost.”

The Winter Gardens is a second home for Mrs Archer and she knows the interior inside out.

Often Mrs Archer walks around in the dark because she knows it so well – but during one incident she probably wished she left the lights on.

“Another time was when I was taking the rubbish out, I don’t put the lights on when I am walking round the theatre, I know it so well, and someone tapped me on the shoulder.

“I screamed, it terrified the life out of me.

“I am beginning to think the people who say it is haunted are right.”

In its heyday the Winter Gardens boasted a ballroom, a number of bars, a billiard hall and even an aquarium.

Now, it stands just as proudly on the seafront, pulling in visitors from around the county and further afield.

Have you had a haunting experience at the theatre or at any other famous landmark in the town?

If so please email us visitor@jpress.co.uk.