Morecambe Winter Gardens

Morecambe Winter Gardens was built in the very last years of the nineteenth century and for eighty years was a huge draw for visitors and residents alike. Sadly, in the seventies, it shared the fate of many large theatres around the country and closed its doors and began a slow decline into decay, before being rescued by the Friends of the Winter Gardens. Today, it is restored to its former beautiful condition and is a credit to the Central Promenade once again.

The secret heart of this lovely building is not all limelight and applause, however. People have experienced the terrifying feeling of unseen hands on their back, trying to push them down the stairs. Under the stage, in the storage area where the dust of performances past lies thick, staff working alone are suddenly aware of heavy and threatening breathing in their ear. Dark shadows in the corners of the building swirl and move and there is the constant sense of someone – or something – staying just out of sight, for reasons of their own.

There is no accredited story of anything unpleasant happening in the Morecambe Winter Gardens and indeed, a quick glance down the list of past performers shows that it was a place of laughter when it was in its heyday; Laurel and Hardy, Morecambe and Wise and the hilarious Ken Dodd, with his famous five hour shows often topped the bill. So it is not always misery that breeds ghostly happenings. Sometimes a building will store memories and experiences from the minds of people who were only passing through, developing them and feeding from them to create an atmosphere guaranteed to terrify all but the most insensitive. This is no friendly poltergeist; Morecambe Winter Gardens is a building in which watching your back is literally essential!


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