News Story

With Hallowe’en just around the corner, we thought it was time we investigated what might be creeping around the corridors of the Royal Arsenal, including here at Woolwich Works...

Our local area has a long and rich history dating back hundreds of years. The first house on the site of Woolwich Works in the 1540s was a Tudor mansion known as Tower Place, and in the 17th Century it was bought by the Board of Ordnance to expand upon their site at Woolwich Dockyard.

It later became a laboratory for ordnance and fireworks, giving name to many of the buildings in the area. Many people of note have passed through this area, from Kings and Queens to Dukes and soldiers.

So it comes as no surprise that some of the people from the past have stuck around in spirit form… For many years the Royal Arsenal has been associated with paranormal activity and, according to some reports, it’s thought to be home to over 50 ghosts. If the walls could talk, we’d be hearing some very interesting stories!

The Fireworks Factory

The site of Woolwich Works is said to be home to at least two ghosts. On nights when the Fireworks Factory isn’t full of the bustle of audiences and artists, if you listen closely you might hear the drumming of kettle bells and laughter… It’s unknown which former resident of the area is the source of the mysterious soundtrack, but it’s unsurprising that music carries through the vibrant history of the Woolwich Works buildings, from the Royal Artillery Band and Orchestra forming here in 1763 to modern day music legends.

On a dark night on Artillery Square, you might also find your hair stroked by a romantic companion of the first Duke of Wellington, Master-General of the Ordnance from 1818 to 1827. Unfortunately nameless, she’s said to haunt the basement of Building 40 and is supposedly known for undoing people’s buttons. However, she’s apparently very confused by zips as they weren’t yet invented when she was alive in the 19th Century!

The Cartridge Factory

Over the road in the buildings that make up Punchdrunk’s epic immersive experience, when venturing down a dark corridor you may find yourself accompanied by the spirit of a former factory worker.

Best be kind however, as he’s not always the most pleasant character and has been known to move chairs around and slam doors shut!

Royal Arsenal and beyond

If you find your pigtails being pulled and hear a mysterious giggle on the streets of the Royal Arsenal, you may well have encountered little Piggy - a young boy who once worked in these factories.

And heading over to Thamesmead, you might even spot the uniformed ghost of a WWII pilot whose plane is said to have crashed on the marshes.

Hallowe’en, also known as Samhain and All Saints Day, marks a transitional period in our calendar as we move from Autumn into the darkness of Winter. It’s a time when the doorway to the other world is opened and is said to allow supernatural beings and souls to come into our world. While some might already be here, their friends may be joining them soon for a spooktacular party.

Will we be hearing even more things go bump in the night? Best to get those costumes on so we can blend in!