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Get set for Shugborough‟s spookiest Halloween - ever! Following a one year break - when the spirits and spectres of Shugborough were allowed to do their worst, free from the glare of the Ghostbusters - the public are to be allowed back onto the Estate this Halloween for a night of family fun and frightening frolics. Back with a bang, and focusing on the theme of “things that go bump in the night”, the October 31st event promises to be a real howler… The ghostly and ghoulish Mansion House and Servants‟ Quarters will be transformed into a haunted house where visitors will find behind every corner a bump, a bang or an icy tap on the shoulder. A Gardens Ghost Train and a Pumpkin Trail leading deep into the darkness of Shugborough‟s grounds will generate even more shudders and shrieks on a night when visitors can also enjoy all the fun of a Fair (additional charges apply), a Kids' Disco, free Face Painting, trick or treating, apple bobbing and traditional refreshments including toffee apples, roast chestnuts and warm punch. So dust off your broomsticks and dress up your kids and head to Shugborough in Staffordshire as it prepares for the spookiest Halloween ever. Gates will open at 5pm on Thursday, October 31st, with adult tickets costing £10 in advance (£12 on the night); children and concessions £7.50 (£9.50); and family groups of two adults and up to three children £30 (£37). Parking is free, and located a short distance from the event area. Tickets are now available to buy online, or via the Box Office telephone number on 0845 459 8900; or from the Shugborough Ticket Office every day apart from Tuesdays from 11am to 4pm. The event has been a sell-out in previous years, and visitors are being advised to book early to avoid disappointment. Managed by Staffordshire County Council, Shugborough is one of the region‟s most popular tourist destinations with a packed progamme of year-round events that offers visitors and locals alike a great day out. For full details, visit http://www.shugborough.org.uk. Ends For further information, and photo-opportunities, please contact: Corinne Caddy Tel: 01889 881388 E-mail: email@example.com
Shugborough takes its name from “Shug” and “Barrow”, meaning: place of the impish devil. And with so many people living on, and passing through, the estate over centuries it‟s no wonder that „things that go bump in the night‟ are a frequent occurrence on the estate. Many people remark on the cold chill when they enter the State Bedroom, for example. This room is said to be haunted by Lady Harriet. And every morning there is the imprint of a body left on the bedclothes, which is duly straightened out but then reappears the next morning. Lady Harriet has also been seen holding a baby, combing her hair at the table and reflected in the mirror. Several years ago, Shugborough held an evening talk called Dressing for Dinner, which involved dressing mannequins in period costume. At the end of the evening, staff decided to put the mannequins and clothes in the dressing room overnight. When the room was unlocked the next day the mannequins had been pulled apart and strewn across the room and the desk had been upended. The Lichfield Suite corridor at one time led to the nursery, and the staff have frequently reported sniggering children playing a game of knock-and-run. A painter once working here felt his ladders being rattled by giggling children – and left the job, refusing to come back to complete his work. Several years ago, Shugborough held the first exhibition of Patrick Lichfield‟s work since he died in 2005. As the very last of the guests left the opening evening, management and staff started to hug each other to celebrate the success of the event. At that very moment a bottle of champagne – unopened and still sealed with its wire and foil – popped, sending a shower of champagne all everyone in the entrance hall. Behind-the-scenes, the offices are usually a hive of activity. On weekends, these areas are only accessed by a duty manager and yet heavy footsteps are regularly heard walking across the ceiling of the booking office on a Saturday and Sunday morning - despite nobody on duty having access to that area in the morning. On another occasion, two members of staff were working late in this office with the door closed, when they heard two ladies talking and laughing quite loudly just the other side of the door. Assuming, it was two of their colleagues who must have also been working late they opened the door to find no one there. With an estate the size of Shugborough, and with a workforce of well over 100 in its heyday, the house isn‟t the only place to boast a ghost or two. The farm, for example, has a whole collection of its own, as well! And more than one member of staff has seen mysterious hands fiddling and arranging decorative Christmas ivy on the banister rail outside the scullery and a ghostly face has been seem at the window on the same set of stairs.
A lady in a brown dress is known to sit in the corner of the parlour and a photograph taken by a member of staff not so long ago shows candles in this room with flames blowing all at different angles (including horizontally) and three orbs in the room. A member of staff lives with her family in the upstairs on the farmhouse and they report that some evenings it feels like a party going on with constant chatter around the house. There have also been regular reports of muttering and doors opening and closing for no reason. There are also ghosts within the farm mill block, where a gentleman is sometimes seen and occasionally a baby crying is heard. The County Museum at Shugborough also houses some staff accommodation, lived in by the caretaker, receptionist and their family. When their youngest daughter was very ill, the receptionist walked into the bedroom to find a ghostly servant lady dressed in dark colours, sitting at the end of her daughter‟s bed. After a few days, the young girl started to get better and the receptionist walked in to find the ghostly servant once again sitting on the bed – only this time smiling contentedly. She never saw her again…until some time later when she was looking through a book of old pictures of Shugborough servants. And amongst the servants captured on early film, she immediately recognised the ghostly lady who had nursed her daughter back to health. While visitors to Shugborough may be aware that staff and volunteers often wear period costumes, a few years ago a group complained about a rude and insolent member of staff who had ignored them and swept past them in the Exhibition Room. She was described as a lady in a red riding habit. But the Shugborough Estate has never had anyone dress in this manner. And, as the Exhibition Room was part of the old stables, the general conclusion is that it was indeed a ghost who needed to brush up on her customer service skills…