The museum is located in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England and I used to regularly visit this Grade II listed building up until I was in my late teens. We used to go because Priestgate area was near my Nan’s cleaning work and she would finish up and then we’d go home with her for tea… all in all as it was free and it had dinosaurs it was a great place to spend some time. The building has been there for over 75 years and looks rather different now, it was originally a small area of office space and ran by Mr Yarrow as the full time caretaker, his wife and two children helped him. They lived in a flat on the first floor and this proved to be eventful itself.

September 1931 Mr Yarrow took his sons out for the afternoon and left Mrs Yarrow to lock up when the last of the visitors departed. With this done she went to the flat to start the evening meal, after half an hour or so she heard a noise on the main staircase and assumed they had returned, so she went out to meet them.

Mrs Yarrow came to see that there was a young man coming up the stairs, he was about 30 years old with brown hair and wore a green suit. She thought she had locked in a visitor by mistake, which seems a fairly reasonable assumption. It soon dawned on her that this might not be the case as his footsteps were unnaturally loud, and he was floating not walking. He reached the landing, walked through the doors near her and then without opening them headed off down the corridor and was not seen again. Spooked she left the building as quickly as possible.

The ghost might be that of a First World War Australian Soldier, Sergeant Thomas Hunter who was born in Newcastle in 1880. He emigrated to Australia as a young man and worked as a coal miner, in 1914 he enlisted in the Australian army and served as Gallipoli and on the Western Front. In 1916 he was seriously wounded, and was treated in a field hospital. He was then sent to Britain as he required more specialist care.

The medical staff found that his condition was worsening and they stopped at the next place they could, Peterborough. The hospital he was taken to is now the museum and sadly it was too late for him, he died there 31st July 1916. The operating theater there and is a rare example of a Victorian operating theater, when the redevelopments are finalized (probably have been by now) it’s due to be part of the public displays.

The soldier is buried at Broadway cemetery and his figure hasn’t been seen since the 1970’s but the anecdote has continued to be part of the museums history. Alongside this the staff has found furniture moved around at night too.

Along with the First World War soldier the museum is said to have a Roman Soldier and a White Lady there too. Alongside this in the geology gallery they are saying that a little girl likes to leave messages on tape recordings there and that she once popped up to terrify a workman.

I have to admit I don’t know if it was the fact there were loads of old things there, or maybe the giant plesiosaur looming over us, but it has a pretty creepy atmosphere in some sections. Then again you are talking to someone that shuddered when touching a half-bald taxidermy giraffe so who knows…

 

Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery - geograph.org.uk - 1777376

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