An exclusive look at Rupert Matthews' Haunted Surrey
I was told that the phantom in question was that of a cleaning lady who had died sometime in the 1950s. She came back after office hours, as she had done when alive, to potter about the building. It was presumed by the night staff who encountered her that she was intent on cleaning. The most frequent manifestation was the flushing of toilets, the turning on or off of taps and other plumbing-related activity. There were also the sounds of ashtrays being emptied, bins banged about and broom sweeping on the hard floors. Just occasionally the cleaner’s voice would be heard, coming from empty rooms or echoing along empty corridors. She was also seen sometimes, walking slowly dressed in a purple, wrap-around cleaning overall of the type worn by ‘Mrs Mops’ back in the 1950s and 1960s. A few years ago the old Fanum House was demolished and a new one built. The ghost may have been very active in the old AA HQ, but she has not been seen or heard in the new one.
The Old Chalk Pit
In 1969 a multi-storey car park was built in the chalk pit, and that was when the haunting first hit the local news headlines. Workmen reported seeing a woman dressed in a long dress, variously described as being grey or pale brown in colour. She was seen amid the construction equipment, but could never be found when a search was made. The workmen declared her to be a ghost and became uneasy about working alone or after dark.
An old story then surfaced about a local girl named Lorna Smith. She had been the daughter of a Quaker merchant who lived in Guildford in the later eighteenth century. Lorna’s father found her late one evening consorting with a good-looking local lad who was not only poor but - rather more seriously for the angry father - was a Catholic. Lorna had been dragged home by her father to be subjected to a torrent of angry abuse. The distraught girl fled in the night, heading for the home of her beloved, but in the dark she fell into the chalk pit and broke her neck. Perhaps the unhappy Lorna was disturbed by all the work going on in the old chalk pit, and she came back to see what was happening.
No. 122 High Street
The stories of a haunting at the Angel began soon afterwards. The ghost of a young man in military uniform was reported in Rooms 1 and 2, those used most often by the Prince Imperial. The clearest sighting came in 1970 when a Mr and Mrs Dell were staying in Room 1. Something woke Mr Dell up early and as he glanced about the room he saw a man in a uniform standing beside a heavy wardrobe. The man had a thick, black moustache, heavy eyebrows and eyes that seemed to be sad or melancholy. Mr Dell sat looking at the man for sometime, then woke up his wife who saw the apparition briefly before it vanished.
Mr Dell subsequently found some pictures of the Prince Imperial, but decided that the ghost did not resemble the young man. The ghost had looked to be about forty-five or so while the prince had been only twenty-three when he was killed. However, the uniform did seem to be that of a late nineteenth century cavalry officer. Perhaps the ghost was that of an aide or a colleague of the unfortunate prince.
No. 132 High Street
It was just after Jack Jeffrey’s funeral that the haunting began, and it was the office in the cellar that was the focus for events. Old Jack Jeffrey was seen several times in the small office, sitting as if going through the accounts or reading a newspaper. So far as I can tell he was never seen in the public parts of the shop, but the staff were more than familiar with his appearances. After Jeffrey’s vacated the shop, it was remodelled and the cellar cleared of all internal partitions, including that of the small office. Opinions differ as to whether the ghost has been seen since.