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The museum was originally built as a private home for a local magistrate known as Thomas Cooke in 1816. However, the building was built upon the foundations of an older property from the early 16th Century, whose cellars still remained. Thomas and his wife Charlotte stayed in the home from when it was built up until 1856 when the couple divorced under a cloud of scandals.
The house was then sold on to the third Earl Fitzwilliam who then allowed the building to be used as the city’s first hospital. It was known as The Peterborough Infirmary and was used from 1857 until 1928. The building apparently suffered severe damage due to a fire that broke out in 1884. And finally, the building was then bought by the Museum Society in 1931, an art gallery added in 1939, and finally, a major refurbishment in 2011.
Regarded as the most haunted location in the city of Peterborough, Most Haunted the TV series has visited here, as well as many other paranormal programmes and investigation teams. There are certainly a wide range of reports here which have occurred often, which make this a fantastic location for any budding paranormal investigators.
During Most Haunted’s visit, they witnessed a number of phenomena, one of the more memorable moments was when the heavy cellar door slammed shut with no obvious explanation.
Perhaps the most well known ghost is that of the dark grey figure that’s often seen on the stairs or on the first floor. People believe this is the spirit of Thomas Hunter, an Australian soldier who died from his wounds here back when the museum was a hospital in 1916. Reports suggest the nurse who was treating him, witnessed the spirit first, shortly after his passing!
Reports of Thomas being seen came to the surface again when the then hospital re-opened as a museum in 1931. The caretaker at the time, Mr Yarrow, lived at the museum in a first floor flat with his wife and two children. On one particularly day, Mr Yarrow took his children out for the afternoon leaving his wife to close the doors to the museum later that afternoon. After closing up, Mrs Yarrow headed back up stairs to their flat, when suddenly she heard loud footsteps coming up the stairs behind her. Turning around expecting to see her family, she was shocked when she saw a young man walking towards her. Believing she had locked someone in the museum by mistake, she went on to apologise. Unusually the footsteps were very loud for the way he was strolling up the stairs, and upon a closer look, she noticed he was gliding up the stairs. He passed her at the top of the stairs without so much as a glance, and to her fright he dissipated through the first double doors on the first floor corridor.
Often the most activity can be had in the cellar area. If you investigate this area you can expect to have doors slam on you, things thrown at you, strange noises, and maybe even a glimpse of the hooded figure that has been known to show himself on many investigations.