Being a Paranormal Investigator or Ghost-Hunter or even an Urban Explorer (that seems to be a thing now) you tend to end up visiting quite a variety of different places ranging from public houses to hotels to theatres, you get the picture now I’m sure. Every once in a while an opportunity presents itself to spend a twilight hour in a place so phenomenal you end up saying “wow” regardless of how many times you may visit it. I’ve lived in Leicestershire all of my life and I’ve always known of Beaumanor Hall, this was mainly down to school trips as a youngster. Many primary schools and local businesses use Beaumanor for ‘away days’ and residential trips in which school children would stay over-night after spending the day learning through outdoor activities, set in a large amount of countryside the hall allows ample space for children to run and play and learn.
In the Autumn of 2017 after taking advice from my wife I decided to visit Beaumanor Hall without any prior booking and speak to the people there about possibly running some paranormal events with Haunted Discoveries. Driving through the Leicestershire countryside you would have no idea that a building so large, so grand, so breathtaking could be situated where it is. There are no rooftops poking over the trees, no garden walls high against the roadside, absolutely no indication of the scale and majesty that is just around the corner. As you follow the small sign indicating Beaumanor Hall you find yourself driving through a small residential area before making a short left turn down a long driveway and then it hits you. Emerging from large trees like an old book slowly opening it’s pages the Hall reveals itself to you and immediately transports you to a time long ago when size and opulence ruled supreme.
As you take in the front of the building your eyes are drawn to right and the scale of where you are becomes apparent as the Hall stretches away and out of view behind yet more greenery some eighty meters or so away. After taking in the view for a moment or two I parked up and headed for the entrance. Two large wooden doors greeted me with carefully sculpted bulls heads protruding from them, at this point I am already thinking are these the original doors? after all this time? how has this building been preserved so well?. Little did I know how relevant that last question would be.
Stepping past the main doors and into the entrance hall you begin to get an understanding of the sheer size of Beaumanor Hall. The entrance hall alone has it’s own grand fireplace and two enormous doors that grant access into the main building, I actually briefly thought this was the main reception area used in the past for entertainment purposes, needless to say I was very wrong indeed. I left what I can only describe as the ‘greeting’ room and entered into the main atrium of the Hall.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, being a paranormal investigator leads you to find yourself in some pretty interesting places, nothing however could have prepared me for the room I had just walked into. The main atrium consisted of a large box shaped room with an impossibly high ceiling. A landing area stretched around the walls roughly half way up, indicating the location of the first floor, finally joining together on the far side of the room to form possibly the grandest staircase I personally have seen, sweeping down through the centre of the room to the ground floor. If that wasn’t grand enough then there was a lit chandelier and glorious stained glass windows towering above the staircase dominating my attention. It then crossed my mind that whoever built Beaumanor spared no expense whatsoever.
From spotlessly clean carpets to high ceilings to beautiful pictures including a large scene from ‘Gone With The Wind’ every inch of this ground floor area oozes with grandeur. I found myself taking everything in that I am seeing when a young premises officer arrives to give me a personal tour of the building, of course when one is in a building like this and one is offered to be taken around then one would simply be crazy to refuse, so off we go.
Leaving the main atrium one thing starts to become apparent rather quickly, it could be very easy to get lost in Beaumanor. The corridors tend to look the same and because of the box shape of the main building it doesn’t take long before you are wondering if you are facing North, South, East or West.
The first place I am taken to are the cellars. Descending a small staircase I’m informed that the premises officer didn’t bring a torch with him, so out comes my mobile phone to guide us through the darkness, and when I say darkness I mean darkness. When Haunted Discoveries did our first public investigation at Beaumanor Hall my colleagues said that it was comparable to Drakelow Tunnels in the cellars. I have never been to Drakelow Tunnels, as I write this I have another year to go before that experience comes my way, essentially what they were saying is that the cellars are completely black. No emergency lighting, no windows just endless walkways and side rooms with arched pillars giving an almost aquatic feel to them. There is more underground space at Beaumanor than most would wish for in an entire evening of Ghost hunting, you could easily waste a night away in this area and to make it even more fascinating there are feature rooms too.
Making my way around the cellar in the dim light of my mobile phone torch I am guided to a room set out as an air raid shelter from world war two, filled with war memorabilia and paraphernalia. The war room is actually more relevant than expected given the role that Beaumanor Hall played in supporting British Intelligence during the conflict. In 1939 the war office requisitioned the estate and number six intelligence school were based at the Hall. The Royal Navy, Air Force and Signals trained at Beaumanor and the very cellars I was walking around were used as electricians workshops. Y Stations were set up by the military in world war two to intercept encrypted German signals sent using the infamous Engima machine and Beaumanor was used as one of these secret listening posts, ready to relay all information received on to the code breakers a Bletchley Park.
As we make our way out of the cellars I am quickly shown to other exhibit rooms designed to demonstrate how laundry duty and cooking would have been accomplished in Victorian times. I am not joking when I say the cellars are enormous and as I mentioned before it would be so easy to lose your bearings and find yourself momentarily stranded in the darkness. At this point i’m thinking iv’e been walking around for 10 minutes or so now and only seen one area of this place, bringing the public to this location with Haunted Discoveries is a must and I simply can’t wait to tell the team in particular my business partner.
End of Part 1
Haunted Discoveries invite you to join them at Beaumanor Hall, events are listed on our website – http://www.haunted-discoveries.co.uk