THE PRIORY INVESTIGATES: QUEST NUMBER FIVE PART ONE

GHOSTLY HAPPENINGS. STABLE BLOCK MURDERS.  EXPLORERS IN THE NIGHT.

For Quest Number Five we travelled almost all the way to the Norfolk coast to a small town called Little Plumstead, NR13 5FB, not far from Norwich, to investigate the old abandoned hospital; the old asylum which now stands derelict and has over the years gained a reputation for unusual happenings. Built in 1889, the hall and estate were under the ownership of a Major Ashley; the hall itself was built on the site of a previous building.

Main Hall 1   Asylum 2

The Main Hall and one of the many other buildings on the landscaped estate

Some of the reports of the happenings that have been said to occur here include:

  • Noises through the halls and stairwells
  • People crying in the kitchen area
  • Poltergeist activity in Lower chambers (Hydrotherapy area / Kitchens)

 

General Information:

Little Plumstead Hospital was originally Norfolk’s principle mental deficiency colony. It was opened in 1930 and closed in the 1990s. Since then it has mostly been flattened to make way for a mega housing development. Part of the site is still live and deals with sexual offenders and another part of the site is a primary school. which is a bit of a combination  to say the lest… All that remains now is the main hall, 2 blocks for admin and workshops and 1 main admin block and a few smaller out-buildings.

In its boom Little Plumstead had 351 beds over 16 wards and a further 2 bungalows for children. Little Plumstead Hospital Colony opened in 1930 within the grounds of an 18th century estate, the buildings in situ were utilised and additional buildings were added up until the 1970’s. In 1941 the hospital was approved as a “Complete Training School for Nurses for Mental Defectives”. Partial closure came in the 1990’s with the demolition of part of the site for the construction of residential houses. Sleep studies have also been documented here, using patients admitted to the hospital.

The main hall was lived in by Major Ashley, before it was sold to the Government in 1929. Ashley was then employed as a Caretaker and when the hospital opened, he trained and became a Mental Nurse.

main hall 2 (1)

 General view of the rear of the Main Hall, where Major Asley lived, showing just what a beautiful building it once was

Mr Allen Pratt was in charge of farming and his wife was in charge of the dairy. The Pratt’s lived in cottages in Water Lane.  In 1951, the Government further purchased Blofield Hall, a mere 1 mile from the hospital, so to expand its operation.

Hall 1930

The Main Hall 1930

Of further interest:

In World War 2 some of the houses belonging to Joe Wiley on the green were hit by a bomb and one man was killed.

In November 2014 HRH The Earl of Wessex made a visit to Little Plumstead and spent time with Lord Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James.

On this paticular occasion we were sadly not able to gain access to the buildings which are now being redeveloped into apartments by a local person, and the whole area and buildings are now securely borded up, however ‘urban explorers’ have been able to access the building by ingenious means but very sadly much damage inside and theft have consequently taken place. Yet not to be detered we were able to find an entrance through the barriers that surrounded the Main Hall and do a little a filming directly outside the main hall so please follow the link below to our Youtube channel to find our more fascinating info on Little Plumstead Hall

 Some of the renovation works now being carried out to the rear of the buildings where once the stable block stood.

Renovation 1   Renovation 2

 Mysterious Stable Block Murders:

Just across the main entrance road, stood the original stables for the entire estate; there are reports of murders that actually occurred in the stables themselves, these murders happened quite some time before 1889; way back in 1613 to be precise, when the first murders occurred in the stables at Little Plumsted. Not much will be found anywhere about this sad event unless one digs into the archive records. Yet it is in the actual stables, situated across the road from the main hall where the murders of two farmhands occurred. Strangely no one was ever found or caught for the murders, but interesting to note that both victims were found to be laid out in a rather ritualistic way.

Since this occurrence, going back to the 1600’s and whilst the building was still a stable block, it was reported that every night the horses were heard to be frantically whinnying and neighing while inside the stables, in a very terrified fashion. There was seemingly no apparent reason why they should be terrified, for back in the 1700’s as it was, this was a very remote area. Yet when the local farm hands arrived to see what was wrong with the horses, the minute the door was opened the horses were amazingly calm again with no sign of any disturbance. This all went on for about five years until it was decided to smash the stables down and build anew there.

In addition to that, there is a further interesting story to what has happened at this site in the past; a past which has now been literally buried. We all know that the best way to hide something is to build something on top of it; the further reality as can be seen here, is that if buildings are not maintained thy go into dereliction and ruin and over time start to crumble and fall. It is interesting to note that there has been various planning permissions put forward in respect of Plumstead Hall, for turning it into residential housing, apartments and even at some point to turn it into some kind of community centre; yet every single planning application that has been made for Plumsted Hall in Little Plumsted has been refused; which only begs the question why?

Redevelopement and present day ‘explorers’:

Alek our head investigator then managed to have a very interesting talk with a local guy named David who seemed curious as to what we were doing. David, as it turns out is a neighbour, he informed us, of the guy who has now actually bought the property here; ‘Cripps Development’ to be precise and who plan to turn the building here into apartments. It is infact Daniel Cripps, David’s said neighbour who now owns the building; a grade two listed building in fact, so obviously some great work is now being carried out on the site.

David went on to explain that almost every night the hall is besieged by break-ins, thefts and by whom are known as ‘urban explorers,’ who enter the building on a regular basis, He said it is very it is very difficult to keep them out. Sadly they and the thefts have caused a great deal of damage to the building and its fine fittings inside and have taken off a large part from the front stairwell; the bottom ten or twelve feet infact have been removed and thus it all hangs precariously….

Alek went on to add that also a lot of people have visited the building due to the many myths and legends of various ghostly happenings and that many people do visit the site thinking that there is some kind of electric chair inside! Of course anyone who knows anything about electric therapy will know that it would have been conductors, attached to sponges, placed on either side of a patient’s temples, whilst they were lying down in bed here in the hospital; thus nothing whatsoever to do with an electric chair; so another bit of urban myth and legend, all adding to the mystery of the site….

One can ot help but wonder how many of these strange happenings a re still going on today and what the new occupants of the swish apartments will make of it all….

                              Some of the beautiful architectural features of the main hall.

Please join us for interesting and fun days out – great company to boot!

email me at ‘moon.willow@ntlworld.com’

or to join The Priory proper please see this link:

http://priory7.wix.com/priory

      ‘Its a quest for a lifetime and beyond’