Old Police Stores and wash room
Spooks in the basement
The tour continues down to the basement to the old police stores where the police uniforms were kept.
Bathroom facilities lead off into an adjacent room which dates back to the Victorian period and illustrates the beginnings of very basic employee welfare.
A few years ago David and his guides confidently pointed to the fireplace as the scene of poor Henry Solomon’s demise and eagle eyed visiters quickly spotted the few drops of blood/red paint on the floor by the hearth. However, for some time many of the guides felt that it was unlikely that the Chief Constable would have interviewed John Lawrence in the basement and recently we have discovered that he was murdered in his office, just to the right of the main entrance.
This revelation has not deterred the more intrepid ghost hunters who still insist on staking out the basement in the hope of catching a rare glimpse of Henry’s ghost.
Rob Marks says:
“Since the murder of the Chief Constable the spectral figure of a man clad in dark attire has been seen down in the cellars.
“In the 1980s, a security guard on duty was awestruck to see the apparition of a man in a long dark coat and top hat appear from the area of the old cells.
“Such distinguished Victorian attire could well suggest this was indeed the troubled spirit of the murdered Chief Constable.”
Apparitions of monks butchered by the French in 1514 are also said to reside in the basement alongside the ‘spectre of a repulsive hag-like figure wearing a long flowing gown.’
However, as Adam Trimmingham points out,
‘If there were any ghosts in Brighton Town Hall, you might expect them to be old councillors who have been chatting away there for the best part of two centuries.They could also be famous authors such as Charles Dickens, who gave readings to packed audiences there.’
Some visitors do claim to feel uncomfortable in the basement area and very few have expressed a desire to spend a night in the cells. However, this may have more to do with the facilities, or lack of, than genuine terror