FOLLOWING the revelations of a haunting at Ilkeston's JD Cafe Bar (Now the HOP) on South Street, another old building is set to have its history examined for spooks.
After taking her mother's memoirs away to write a book on her, maiden name Bronwyn Hayes of Brinsley found journals written by her mother detailing scary sights at the Scala Cinema on Pimlico.
The story of the building being built on a cemetery is part of urban legends so we set out to prove, or disprove it. On maps of the 1880’s we found the land to be referenced as belonging to the chapel and there was a path through it. After some digging we found reference to the construction of the building and indeed it was a graveyard.
In an article in the advertiser dated 06/01/1989 we found stories of the reverend of the late 1800’s offering a Christian burial to the bodies in the yard, moving the stones to the St Marys Graveyard. We also found that there was a man, who was old enough to remember before the cinema was built, and indeed it was a walled graveyard, with around a dozen stones.
Bronwyn’s mother Vambria Walters worked at the Scala over 30 years ago in which time she saw apparitions and heard noises on a regular occurrence.
Her husband Arthur Walters said:
“She would often come home and tell me about seeing people walking down the stairs while she was cleaning the Scala, people who were not really there or who would vanish. One time she saw a man on the stairs and he then walked in the front door.”
The story goes that the former owner of the cinema Mr Brailsford haunts the building and started making more appearances when the foyer was changed to modernise its appearance.
The Scala was in the Brailsford family for a long time so it is unknown which member of the family is still ‘active’ on the site.
Jack Phillips, Parapsychologist, lives a few minutes walk from the Scala on New Lawn Road and is keen to investigate.
He said that the reason behind the haunting is not unfamiliar:
“There are two kinds of impression left by a spirit. One is a paranormal one which can’t be explained and is related to a spirit that is present trying to right a wrong. The other is a supernormal psychic impression which is left when particularly strong emotions are experienced in a building and the energy transfers into the walls. It is most common in stone walls and lime.
“There have been incidents when spirits have made themselves known when somebody changes their environment and they don’t agree with it.
“I imagine when people grew up in one home and it was passed onto them when their parents died. They will have had a ‘family home’ so when it is disrupted and changed they make their unrest known.”
The Scala cinema is over 100 years old and is one of the earliest purpose built cinemas in the country. Originally built on the site of a graveyard this building has more than it’s fair share of Ghostly activity.
During the late 1940’s to the early 1950’s, numerous reports of a lion roaming the then enclosed groully, Stories of spooked horse, apparitions, shadows, voices and much more.
In 2014 an investigation was done at Scala, the results where better than expected.