Ghostly goings-on inside Sheffield City Hall revealed in book

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IT has been the haunt of music fans and ballroom dancers for generations.

But there has also been a glut of ghostly goings on at Sheffield City Hall over the past 80 years.

And now and you can learn a little more about them in a new book being launched next week.

Neil Anderson, author of a new book celebrating the venue’s 80th birthday, said: “In my research I uncovered stories of at least three resident ghosts – a friendly one in the projection room, a female in the ballroom and a conductor who occasionally wanders the stage in the Oval Hall.”

Neil believes there was an eerie presence connected to one of the most tragic incidents in the life of the City Hall.

He said: “The building was the venue for War Weapons Week which aimed to raise as much money as possible for the war effort.

“Sadly, it ended in the death of two people and left three others injured when an anti-tank rifle was accidently set off inside the building.”

A Star report of the time said: “The gun was one of a number of weapons, ancient and modern, exhibited with a view to arousing public interest in the city’s successful attempt to raise £4,000,000. How the accident happened is a mystery.”

The dead were 14-year-old boy scout Gordon Strange, of Hartley Brook Road, and 18-year-old Raymond Tucker, of Woodhouse.

One of the most vivid encounters of a ghost belonged to the City Hall’s former electrical engineer Derek Prince.

He ended up enlisting expert help in a bid to get to the bottom of things.

Mr Prince said: “I was told my predecessor in the job was sitting in there one night when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He shot round and there was nobody there.

“One night there was a lad in there with me who was operating the follow spot.

“I remember him standing straight in front of me and saying ‘Are you aware there’s a presence in this room?’ And I said ‘What do you mean?’ He said ‘We’re not the only people here.”

Derek invited a spiritualist and medium to the projection room who said the presence was a man who had worked on the City Hall when it built and had since died.

n Share your memories of the building at the official launch of the book in the foyer of Sheffield City Hall next Tuesday, at 5pm. Call 0114 223 3740 to book.