Champ News is a service of Champion Newspapers ... Sefton & West Lancashire's favourite local newspaper
The editor of a magazine
09 November 2007
The editor of a magazine about paranormal activity is appealing to Southport residents for information about the Palace Hotel, demolished in 1969.

Mrs Eileen Shaw of the Paranormal Researcher is particularly interested in any inexplicable events experienced by those living on the Ascot Close estate, the former site of the famous Birkdale building.

"Very often when a building is haunted then demolished the paranormal activity can continue, so we're wondering if that's the case," she said.

Mrs Shaw has been researching the hotel after reading that it was haunted by the architect who designed it. He had supposedly killed himself after the Palace was built back to front, although the Merseyside Anomalies Research Association, publisher of the Paranormal Researcher, has discounted this in this month's issue.

Another story that Mrs Shaw and Ian Pickup investigated was that of the demolition workmen in 1969. It was reported that the lift in the hotel was working of its own accord, even when the power was cut off. The workmen were so spooked that they eventually cut the giant lift from its holdings, sending it crashing four stories down into the basement.

According to Mrs Shaw: "We couldn't find any explanation for the lift moving."

Workmen at the time also reported hearing arguments and the sound of stilettoes. The explanations behind these sounds turned out to be more earthly, as it was later discovered that courting couples had been using the empty hotel rooms.

Mrs Shaw said: "It's a feasible theory but couldn't the workmen have worked it out themselves? It undermines their intelligence to say they couldn't work out people were using the rooms.

"They were very frightened. When they all agree they don't want to work after dark and move out of the hotel you can't discount it as their imagination."

A very real tragedy affected the hotel in 1961 when the body of 6-year-old Amanda Graham was discovered under a bed. She had been murdered by a hotel porter who was living in the hotel.

Amanda's sister Pauline Hadfield told MARA that in 1963 a chambermaid from Wigan had repeatedly seen a little girl who never spoke. When she asked colleagues who she was she was told that no little girls were staying in the hotel.

The Fisherman's Rest pub is the only surviving fragment of the Palace after it's demolition in 1969. It is named for the fishermen brought there following the worst lifeboat disaster in Britain, when on December 9 1886 23 men of Southport and St. Annes drowned trying to reach a German ship in distress.

Former landlord of the Fisherman's Rest Gerrard Brannan and a barmaid working there at the time told Mrs Shaw that they had experienced a strange phenomenon in the pub.

"They said they were talking at the bar and a shadow passed them. They both noticed it," said Mrs Shaw.

Anybody who can help MARA with their investigation or who wishes to join can contact Mrs Shaw on 07771824656 or

The Paranormal Researcher containing the article about the Palace Hotel is available at

By Peter Swift

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