Built in the 19th century the Old Nick theatre in Gainsborough, originally served as the Divisional Headquarters of the Lincolnshire Constabulary and the Magistrates Court, a role it fulfilled for more than 100 years. In 1979 the courtroom was converted into the present theatre, although the structure of the building is largely unaltered. The premises also now includes a coffee room, bar, and props store. The theatre company obtained the lease to the building in 1993 upon the death of their benefactor Douglas Parkinson.
Despite the current day use of the building, it has never quite been able to shake off its gruesome past. There have been at least 25 recorded deaths on the site, and there are many interesting and spooky corners of the building to investigate. The original corridors and cells remain intact and have been the scene for some spectacular poltergeist activity in the past. Many visitors have fled the building after spending time alone in the cells. The old exercise yard, and judges room are also frequently the location for paranormal activity, with many objects vanishing, before being found in other parts of the building without any possible explanation.
Visitors to the Old Nick speak of door handles being turned by unseen hands, and doors slamming shut and becoming locked without a rational explanation. Other visitors have felt themselves to have been touched or poked when they have been alone. Footsteps are often heard from empty corridors, and changes in temperature have also been recorded. Dark shadows that vanish away as you approach them, and noises that can’t be explained. A visit to the Old Nick has the potential to be truly harrowing, so prepare yourself for an intense experience that you will not be able to forget.