Smethwick Swimming Centre, previously known as Thimblemill Baths, has gone through many interesting changes, had famous faces pass through its doors and also survived the Second World War. Opened on the 30th March 1933 and designed by Chester Button and Roland Fletcher, the art deco features of the building were inspired by the high arched roof of aircraft hangers in France. In turn these features were derived from the Scandinavian timber construction of the Breslau exhibition pavilion in the early 1920s. Other similar designs can also be found at the Royal Horticultural Hall in London. Person0 Available
Location: Smethwick, Birmingham
Date: Saturday 26h July 2014
Time: 9pm – 3am
Cost: £49 Per Person
Click here to buy
During WWII, the vast network of underground tunnels and cellars which lie beneath the complex were used as an air raid shelter; posters and drawings from that time can still be seen to this day. There was also a U.S. Air Force base just around the corner from the baths and it is thought that they would have made use of this underground space too.
Paranormal activity is rife at this venue and so plentiful that there just isn’t room to detail all of it here. However, without a doubt, the most haunted part of the building is underground, in the aforementioned network of tunnels and cellars which are both creepy and disorientating before any mention of the supernatural is even made.
Apparitions in this area include a man in a green boiler suit, two gentlemen apparently engaged in a frantic chase, a black American Airman and even a horse, to name but a few. The phantom equine may seem out of place until one learns that this particular part of the cellars was built on/underneath a moated farm.
The underground room once used as a morgue apparently plays host to a spirit of a man with long hair and beard, who has shown himself on several occasions. Meanwhile, in the air raid shelter, strange blue lights have been seen and often members of staff will enter this area to find pyramids of stones that have been neatly built on the floor. A small boy has been sensed in here and many paranormal investigations have picked up on a girl who goes by the name of Emily. In recent years an escape tunnel was discovered which now runs underneath a block of flats. One resident of these flats has regularly seen a little girl in her home and it is thought likely that this is the ghost of Emily too.
During some refurbishment work in one of the tunnels, a workman kept complaining about a group of children who were running about and making a lot of noise, and despite the management’s reassurance that there was no way any children could be down there, he would not be convinced. Another workman, upon appearing at the manager’s door breathless and white as a sheet, described how he had been working in the cellars when he looked up to see the ghostly face of a little boy staring back at him through a hole in the wall.
However, while the tunnels and cellars are certainly very active, they do not have an exclusive claim to the paranormal activity within the building. In the changing rooms upstairs, the lights are on a motion sensor, yet after-hours they often switch on in sequence, as if someone is walking around, despite the doors being locked. Footsteps are also heard emanating from this area in similar circumstances, and wet footprints have appeared hours after the last visitor has left, leaving staff members utterly baffled.
We really have only touched the surface here in terms of the paranormal activity experienced on a regular basis at Smethwick Baths. It is certainly one of the more unusual venues we have seen on our travels, which makes us confident that you will be as eager to investigate it as we are!