Alum Ale House
River Drive, South Shields, Tyne and Wear
Two centuries ago, there was a chemical factory at the ferry landing at South Shields called Alum Works. It may well be that as a chemical works Its name was after ‘Alum’ meaning various native minerals. The Alum Ale House dates from the mid-19th century. The Alum House Ham is nearby. The local scullermen worked from that area. Now we come to the lovely bit; the pub exhibits ghostly manifestations. These include Giggly Meg. She was an Irish prostitute who once lived on the premises and with a taste for the demon drink. When she manifests, there is the sound of merry giggling as though the ghost were drunk. She is perhaps in one of her drunken moods when she slams doors in the middle of the night. One former proprietor took an apple pie from the freezer to defrost overnight. When she went to her kitchen the following morning, she noticed the gorgeous smell of baking pastry. She opened the oven door, the gas was alight, and the pie cooked to a nicety. In complete antithesis of Giggly Meg, a very well dressed Victorian man also haunts the pub. Employees have watched him as he steps down the staircase in a long tailed coat and carrying his black top hat in his hand. Just before he disappears through an old, now blocked off doorway, he places this hat upon his head. In another more basic manifestation, the Grey woman appears in the women lavatory. Observers describe him as middle-aged and wearing an elegant grey dress with long sleeves. At other times and it can only be assumed to be the same phantom, just a hand and arm covered with a long grey sleeve appears. At least one observer has identified this woman, as there is a photograph hanging in the lounge of the launch of the Railway Ferry Steamer in October 1914. Near the front of this image is a large woman who looks remarkably like the Grey Lady. However, no observer has identified her by name. Finally, in the cellars, there is a wicked poltergeist called Charlie. He is the phantom of a Roman soldier.