Dudley was predominately a mining area and the Castle is situated on top of the limestone workings. Because of the mining and industrial trade and the chain mailing, the whole area became known as “The Black Country“.
It is thought that Castle Hill was the entrance to Dudley. Archive records have been misplaced over time and therefore this is limited the information available but I have dug around and found the following information. At the left is Dudley Station Hotel with a public drinking fountain at the front, first erected in 1862 and survived until 1962 and is thought to be relocated at a park somewhere. Horses mainly used the fountain but people could also use it. The fountain site is where the traffic lights now are.
The railway station opened in 1850, with the main hotel, The Castle in 1896. The Station Hotel was opened on 28th May 1898 on the corner of Birmingham road and Trindle road. The building was black and white with stables and a courtyard. The entrance on the corner of Trindle and Castle Hill was the main entrance for horses and carriages. People could be dropped off, in front of the main doors by carriages and later by cars.
Opposite the Station Hotel, the Opera House was opened in 1899. This brought the rich upper classes to Dudley. Sadly, the Opera House burned down and was replaced by Dudley Hippodrome in 1936 and the Station Hotel was extended and modernised. Most of the stars that performed at the Hippodrome stayed at the Station Hotel, including Bob Hope, Laurel and Hardy, Jonny Ray, Frank Sinatra and George Formby. George is reported to have performed on the balcony of his suite for the large fans what gathered to see him.
The Station Hotel was classed as an upper class and modern establishment and it was extended with an upstairs cocktail bar in the 1960’s. A bar was added to the new ballroom downstairs and it was thought the bar was the longest bar in the country at the time.
The station Hotel is well-known for its haunting/paranormal history and below is some of the Managers/staff experiences. May 2002, nothing was known about which rooms were haunted, the manager slept over in room 217. A football shirt was put on a hanger over the top/in front of the wardrobe. The manager woke up suddenly at exactly 3.00 am to a whispering in both ears, the manager turned over and saw a woman standing in the corner of the room, she was leaning over the dressing table. The woman was wearing a black dress, down to the floor with tight-fitting sleeves to her wrist. She had dark hair, scraped back and it was tied into a bun. As she was seen, the whispering stopped and when the light was turned on, the woman disappeared. However, when they woke in the morning the football shirt was neatly folded, lying on the foot of the bed.
A blonde female was changing a barrel in the cellar (2005) and heard a man’s voice whispering, she saw no one but heard footsteps down the corridor outside of the room. Another time, she went to get extra beer glasses from the cellar. While carrying a plastic tray full of them, she saw a silhouette of a man about 6 foot tall, he stepped out in front of her and blocked her path. She described him as being solid. She said to him, “George! Do you mind? I have a job here! I’ve got to get these glasses upstairs!”. He stepped back and as she walked past, she said it was like walking past an open freezer.
It has been reported by a night porter that in the bar area clean glasses and ashtrays have been moved and the jukebox playing music but he could not access the bar as the bar manager has the keys and unplugs the jukebox. He went upstairs to the bedrooms but he could not hear the music from the jukebox. However, when he came back down the dishwasher was on and leaking so, he called the duty manager. The duty manager said the plugs had been unplugged. Later in December 2005, a man came down, sat in the bar and followed him around all night. He had been staying in room 214, laying on the bed and fell asleep but was woken suddenly before 3.00 am, looking at a young blonde girl, kneeling at the foot of his bed, untying his right shoelace as he had fell asleep fully clothed on his bed. The girl disappeared when he looked at her, he then legged it out of the room.
A hotel maintenance staff (Sept 2008) moved some furniture around In room 214 in the evening, he turned around to check the room before leaving and heard whispering from inside the room, an adult male voice, it was not a friendly voice but not angry either, he shut the door quickly and left.
August 2005, someone was staying in room 214, going through a lot of emotional turmoil at the time they heard a woman say, “Why Cry?” this made them jump and nearly fall of the bed. Outside of the door was checked but no one was there and a cold chill was felt. The TV was put on and a loud bang was heard from the bathroom, when entering the shower door was swinging. The persons mum was called and she could hear a growling noise but it was not heard in the room. When in bed, they felt the bed sheets being tugged away from them and when trying to tug them back, they were tugged away even more. They got out of bed to go and report it downstairs, but as soon as they stood, the bed had moved about a foot sideways, the bag of clothes had been tipped upside down and put all over the floor.
Paranormal history is not massive, but folklore tells of a manager who entices a servant girl into the cellars, she refused his advances and she was murdered as she threatened to tell his wife. He strangled her and then stabbed her, hiding her body in a barrel. In addition, stories of two children’s bodies were hidden in barrels.
Reports of a poltergeist in room 217, the bed shaking and the lights switching themselves on and off.
I have had the pleasure of staying/investigating the Station Hotel several times. Room 214: bedclothes being pulled, feeling of a presence but not seeing anyone, strange noises and being touched while in bed. Cold spots felt and legs being touched. Trigger objects of coins moved and the wardrobe doors being opened. Room 215: trigger objects moved, other things moving about. Room 217: sounds like someone sitting in the chair, curtains moving. In the bar area, a temperature drop was felt, but was in fact the temperature was higher.
Cellar: lower legs being held, lights seen and a general scary feeling in most areas. Sense of a male and children, temperature drop and cold spots in various places. Someone was slapped, noises heard, breathing heard, orbs seen by eyesight by a trigger object, but trigger object did not move. A whooshing sound heard, pinprick lights seen, taps, and children heard giggling.
We done a séance in the gas room and nearly everyone saw my face change to an older woman with dark curly hair, hanging down at the front but tied up at the back, with bigger and wider eyes, but I did not feel any different at the time but afterwards I did feel sick with a heady feeling. Back of neck was grabbed, voices in ear. Spirit standing behind people. Flashes of lights above people seen with eyesight, smell of cooking, swaying movement from several people and shadows seen.
I personally feel this is one of the most haunted places you can actually stay in. Room 214, 215 or 217 is a must, but be prepared for little sleep! I will keep going back here, this is second in line to Chillingham Castle for my top ten favorite haunted places and it is a good price and cheaper at the weekend.
Copyrighted Tracy Monger 2012.