Saturday, 10 March 2012

BIRMINGHAM PUB HAUNTED BY LANDLORD WHO DIED 116 YEARS AGO

ONE of Birmingham’s best known boozers is having a spot of bother with a former landlord.

Henry Skinner knocks over glasses, flings beer mats and even throws loose change – much to the annoyance of staff at Temple Street’s Trocadero.
Henry Skinner

They’d ban him, but need help from a priest. That’s because Henry was murdered in the watering hole 116 years ago.

And in the centenary year of the pub being christened the Trocadero, Henry has stepped up his anti-social behaviour.

He’s not a man to mess with.

Henry served in the military before taking over at the watering hole which was then named the Bodega, an upmarket winebar that was a famous haunt of thespians and sportsmen.

The burly publican was well-known in the city and ran a popular boxing academy.

But on December 5, 1895, he made the mistake of crossing brothers Herbert and Arthur Allen.

Arthur worked at the pub but was sacked on the spot and a furious row over wages erupted. In a fit of rage his brother, grabbed a gun and blasted the landlord.

The Birmingham Gazette reported dramatically: “The bulldog pattern bullet, quite capable of felling an ox, buried itself in the wainscoting. Skinner turned back towards the noise and the next shot caught him in the side of the chest as he turned.”
Henry Skinner - haunts Pub

Henry is one of a number of spooks said to wander the building, which became a drinking house in 1883.

Two girls who fell to their deaths on a spiral staircase also make an occasional appearance.

The wafting smell of burning wood is also believed to be a ghostly reminder of the building’s previous use as a fire station.

Meanwhile, social network site Youtube features a number of clips of scared Trocadero regulars enduring strange lights and noises.

Current manager Pete Yeomans admitted the only spirits he has seen have been on the top shelf.

But the 30-year-old added: “A previous manager saw a ghostly gentleman and she felt she always had to say hello and goodbye to Henry.”

Yet his partner Kayleigh Thomas, who has worked at the Trocadero since 2006, has encountered Henry on a number of occasions. She said: “He’s a friendly ghost.

“I’ve never seen him, but I’ve heard him many times. He tends to knock over glasses and leave things out. You’ll open up and find some very strange things have been placed on tables, such as clocks.

“But his party piece is making the money in fruit machines rattle. That can be a bit un-nerving when you’re the only one in the room.”

The 25-year-old added: “I’ve worked in a number of ‘haunted’ pubs, but the Trocadero has the most activity, definitely.”

Michael Reddy, who runs ghost walks through the city, said the Trocadero ticks all boxes when it comes to hauntings. “It has a significant number of ghosts in there, that’s the difference with it,’’ he said.

“There’s also the exterior of the place, with tiles from the late 1800s. It’s a fascinating building and an important part of our heritage.”

Source: BirminghamMail

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