Ghostly Tales Of The Hanwell Community Centre

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Big Dave told me about some ghostly experiences he had at the Hanwell Community Centre many years ago and whilst researching its history, I came across a very brief mention of another paranormal occurrence there on a website that recorded: ‘The phantom sounds of youngsters laughing and crying can be heard from time to time, but only by other children.’ -Thanks to Dave for sending me the following account
Steve Russell

When I was a kid growing up on the Cuckoo Estate in Hanwell, there were many stories going around about ghost sightings at the Community Centre but as a ten year old it didn’t really mean very much to us lads until we reached the grand old age of thirteen. It was mid-November, nine o’clock on a Sunday night and pitch black. Myself and two other lads, Tony Paine and Del Scott, were hanging around the entrance of the Community Centre when we decided to go up to the building and saw a light shining through the window of the Spartan Youth Club. There seemed to be a figure leaning forward writing. The light from the window looked as if it was coming from a candle or an open flame. Being brave, we shouted at the figure but it never responded. We then threw stones at the window which had wire mesh over it. As the stones hit the mesh, the figure turned towards us and then disappeared as did the light. Well we crapped ourselves and ran like hell !!! We couldn’t go near the place for the next few months.

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The second incident happened a year or so later. We were leaving through the front doors around closing time, which was 10pm then, Joe Baxter the Caretaker, Mr Pryor, Tony Paine and myself. After locking up, we started to walk away when Mr Pryor looked back and said that we had left the light on in the Boys Club. He told us that he would go back and turn it off. He went inside and as he made his way up the stairs, the light suddenly went out. A few minutes later, he looked out of the window and shouted down to us that there were no lights on in there. He added that as it was the snooker room, the only light would be the one that covered the table and he had just switched it on. Guess what, we couldn’t see it from the front of the building !!! Once again we crapped ourselves and departed at the double.

Joe Baxter wouldn’t stay on site after that incident. In fact, he would wait at the front door and leave it to others to clear the building before quickly heading off. There was another occasion on a Sunday night when we had a five-a-side football training session. There were about fifteen of us but nobody else was in the building. I remember smelling something like cooked onions, so strong it had us choking. I have been told that this is a sign of the Spirit World ? There have been other sightings. One person has seen the figure of a woman gliding down the stairs moaning before disappearing. If you ever get the chance to visit the Hanwell Community Centre, do so as you might have a strange sense of something that happened there many years ago.

Big Dave



37 Responses to Ghostly Tales Of The Hanwell Community Centre

  1. jj says:

    I imagine as a young lad, you’d be scared out of your brain, and no doubt the memory stays with you forever, yet it wouldn’t deter you from going back for more of the same!!
    Nice one Dave.

  2. bigdave says:

    Thanks jj. When you are inside the building you have a strange sense that somthing has happened there.
    The worse part is in what we called the dungeons but were in fact the stables under the building.
    It makes me cringe to this day !
    One other thing to older guys that worked there, had the plans to the building and the measurments.
    There was one room that was 3 ft smaller on one side.
    The wall had a void behind it, you could tell by tapping it but we was all too scared to get in behind it to this day.
    We don’t know if anyone else has realised its there or what its there for ? I can tell you lots more on different accounts in parks/ buildings as I worked for Ealing Leisure Services for 36 years with some strange going’s on !!!

  3. mystic fred says:

    nice spooky story for a cold winter night!

  4. gazza says:

    Good read….I married a girl from the Cookoo Est….I played a few times in the CC…..jnew plenty of geezers from the estate as well(Les Ware, Drakes, Paul Murray)….played against Hanwell Boys Club(1970′s) and played for Hanwell Town(1970′s)…..and I knew Derek Scott, a good mate, who sadly died about 2 years ago – probably knew you as well Big Dave. Thanks for the memories.

  5. bigdave says:

    gazza new all of these lads did not no about del scott sad mate

  6. lee ford says:

    i used to go cubs their with my freind patrick mithall who lived on westcot cresent,,rumor has it that charlie chaplin haunts it as well as many others,,and yes it has a strange smell,people used to tell me that the knives and forks used to shake in the draws of the canteen,,i can you now this place is haunted,it never scard me though,the other rumor is that,,phantom bomber planes can be seen and heard flying over the back field at the dead of night,,me and patrick used to go ghost hunting all over west london on our bmxs,when we was kids,, leemarktransit@googlemail.com for more info

  7. Check out the Cuckooites website it is filled with stories of us kids who grew up on the Cuckoo estate we have spread our wings far and have found Cuckooites from all over the world visit us at Cuckooites.org Cuckoo Estate Hanwell W.7.

    Tommy Higginbottom Editor.

  8. kat says:

    lol worked at hcc for three years never seen any spooky goings on before.and before anybody asks no its not haunted and no charlie chaplin didnt kill himself jumping from the clock tower lol…..k

  9. Steve Russell says:

    Thanks for your comment mate.
    There are others that would disagree with you.
    When did you work there ?

  10. Bigdave says:

    kat you may have worked there for three years would you spend the night there by yer self and i bet you would not if you say yes i have contacts there and it can be arranged ??????

  11. Sheila Newman says:

    I was born and breed in Hanwell and as a 13 year old girl who against her parents will statrted smoking !! Me and my friends would walk up though the field. One night at about 10ish we walked up to the community centre turned to go into the playing fields we look into the coummuniy centre and to left of the main building on the second floor there was a light on and it was the only light on and it was not coming from the celing where the lights were but coming from half way down the wall. It was not tillon of the lads said sure the community centre is closed we looked again and then we ran……

  12. Debi h says:

    I know that in the 80′s a TV company did a documentary and asked few youngsters from the youth club to stay all night in the HCC. This was in order to record any strange going ons. This was organised via the youth leaders, one of the young volunteers happened to be my brother, who had said he thought it was a load of rubbish and that nothing would happen. The next day when he came home he had a very different story to tell. They had to stay at different parts of the building during the night. When at the 5 a side football hall they could hear children singing and laughing. When upstairs in the Gym the punch bags started swinging and the doors slammed shut. My brother said all the girls there were screaming and crying so it was called to a halt and they were taken home. My brother said he had never been so relieved to leave a place. Im not sure he ever went there again… well not alone anyway.

  13. bigdave says:

    nice one deb, there are more than just me that believes, good one, the main doubter never did come back to me about staying the night there.
    dave

  14. gerry says:

    I live around the corner from the centre and my little boy went to judo there for a while and I remember having to wait in a corridor up the first flight of stairs on his first evening. It felt very eerie and everytime I went in there I couldn’t wait to get out. going up to the very top to where they hold the judo and boxing up that spiral stairway felt really odd too. My old art teacher is the judo teacher there and has his art studio at the top too. All I can say is rather him than me cos sod being alone in that building at night haha

    • Stephanie Silva says:

      my son Jason was taught judo by my old art teacher Mr Davis at HCC and it certainly was an eerie place

  15. Charlotte says:

    I’ve lived in Hanwell all my life, as a kid we would do p.e in the CC. I can also relate to comments above about it having a realty strange atmosphere and the feeling of wanting to get out of there as soon as possible!
    I have also heard the stories of the children laughing and crying, jet planes, and doors banging.
    Does anyone know who I could contact and wether they think we would be able to carry out a paranormal investigation?
    This place fascinates me.

  16. Jenny says:

    I lived on the Cuckoo Estate from birth until 1977. When I was a kid my friends and I would often sit on the walls by the main gates and I would often see a figure coming out of the front door and going down to the left of the building. We use to call it the dungeon but it was probably just a basement. The basement door was bricked off many years later, but I would still see the figure going down there. It was a mans figure and he was quite tall and thin. When I pointed it out to my friends that couldn’t see him.
    In time I thought it was me just seeing things, but at the time he was very real. Why could no else see him.

  17. Bazzer says:

    In 1983 I got into a spot of bother with the police and had to do community service at the Hanwell Community Centre. I was about 16 and had never actually been to the place before. I remember going up to the top floor to a small room with a fire and lots of tools and machinery for us to make wooden toys for children. It was winter and we all huddled close to the fire whilst painting, varnishing and sanding bits of wood. One day we went around the building with one of the men who supervised us. I remember a room full of old clothes and painted scenery for an acting group. I remember the snooker room where with the full sized table too. The corridors echoed as we walked along and chatted and it felt very eerie. Then I remember being downstairs and the badminton courts. Finally we went into the huge basement and I can recall different areas being used by different groups, most memorably of all was the aeroplane which was being built. Anyway, the supervisor told us a story and we had no reason to doubt him. He said that some months previously one of the cleaners had gone on holiday for two weeks. When she returned she carried on with her work as usual. On her first evening back the caretaker approached her and asked her to take some keys back to the reception for him as he had to go and do something and they would need the keys. So, she did as she was asked and took the keys back to the reception and handed them in. The person she gave them to aske her where she got them from. When she said they were given to her by the caretaker the person let out a gasp and went white. She explained that whilst the cleaner was away on holiday the caretaker had suddenly died and so it couldn’t have been him. The supervisor swore this story was true and even said we could talk to the cleaner involved if we wanted to. Nobody took up the offer. It certainly is a very imposing building and has an atmosphere to match. I haven’t been there since that time, but would love to go back and have a look around one day.

    • Jo says:

      The aeroplane was made by my dad. He was also in charge of the centre for many years and lived on the estate most of his life. My mum has worked there for over 30 years and h is still there today. I have never heard of a caretaker dying in the 1980s but there are lots of stories about ghostly happenings in the building. I did stay there overnight in the early 80s with the youth club but nothing happened. However dad use to take our dog into the building when the alarms went off late at night/early morning and the dog would not go into certain areas. Animals are supposed to know when ghosts are around!! Mum (Margaret) is always happy to show people around if they have a connection to the Centre or estate.

      • mark says:

        Hi jo there is a group on Facebook called I grow up in Hanwell west 7 we are discussing the plane your dad built in the basement of the community centre. If you have anymore about it we would love to know more like what type of plane it was or why he was building and what happened to it?

  18. Is-It-Paranormal says:

    Hi BigDave,

    Not sure if you still read this thread! I hope so:-)

    Do you still have contacts for the HANWELL COMMUNITY CENTRE. I am part of a local paranormal group and we would love to be able to spend the night in the building recording any paranormal activity through the night.
    Drive past it regularly as I have family in Harp Road and from the outside it gives off a spooky vibe.

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  20. Ellie Doyle says:

    I live on the cuckoo ave road and underneath the statue of charlie chaplin is a WW2 fighter jet which is supposed to be connected to the hauntings. There are 3 confirmed ghosts in the community centre, a lady dressed in white, the barrel boy and the pilot. A few investigations have taken place and the electric field in the community center
    has been compared to the house that the Black Dhalia died in (the readings hit around 9.5 which can make you see and smell things that arent there but what is making the readings so high is it the ghosts?

  21. Steve Russell says:

    Many thanks for the additional information Ellie. Are you arranging anything in the near future ?

  22. mark says:

    i have been in contact with Ealing Council that now runs the community centre and I have had a response. Looks like they might be giving me the chance to spend the night there. They needed a few more bits of info but it’s looking promising.

  23. Ellie Doyle says:

    Make sure you go under the stage it might be a bit scary but definatly worth it. Make sure you keep in contact with the council and inform me if you are allowed.

  24. Aneesha says:

    Wow. Thats amazing. I used to live on Westcott Crescent for 22 years. I used to go to Drayton Manor high school and our ‘Games’ lessons would be there for part of the year. I never remember anyone talking about ghosts but do remember very well everyone doing their best to get dressed double quick and non of us girls walked around without a friend! the toilets on the top floor were VERY scary… even with a friend waiting just outside!

    can’t wait to hear what your findings are mark! hope you are granted permission!

  25. Amy says:

    They’ve put a little gym around the back of the community center and my husband and I went there really late to work out one night a few months back because it’s quieter. As we were working out we were looking into the top windows of the center and there was a little boy in the window staring at us with a woman by his side. I honestly thought there was someone up there but when I looked up again they weren’t there anymore. Scared the hell out of me, I don’t look in the windows when I’m working out there anymore.

  26. I am part of a team that Investigates reported Hauntings, and I am sure that, if it were possible, we would be delighted to conduct an investigation at the hall. On a side note, My father, and his sister attended the school, and we lived in Hanwel in my early years.

  27. Ellie Doyle says:

    I thought I saw something when I was there a few weeks back, the atmosphere changed it wasn’t negative but very gloomy anyone had the same thing happen to them?

  28. Damian Winter says:

    amazing personal accounts guys, I went to Otherwise and funny enough, my in-laws live on Westcott Crescent with their garden overlooking the field and back/ side of the building.
    we used to hear of stories back in the 80,90s but nothing from the horses mouth but no with technology its amazing how info can get about like this page for example.

    my father in law takes my 6yo daughter to the center to run about but I’m not going to tell her anything just yet.. I’ll ask her random questions to see if she notices anything odd.

  29. Terry brewer says:

    Hi all great story’s it takes me back a bit
    There’s a spot in the field that needs some ones Attention it’s at the back of the sports hall on the right side as you walk around the path on the outer Perimeter
    The spot seems to be colder then any were else in the field
    My dad was the First one to Notice it until I Checked it out for my self
    We use to live at 188 west cott cres that backed on to the field I’m glad I moved out in 1994 because as a child growing up in that house Scared the Liveing Daylights out of me any thats Another story or two LOL
    Hanwell Community center is a weird place but that’s wot we love about it
    I just Fort I would Mention about the cold spot in the field

  30. Ash Tofte says:

    I used to live at 144 westcott crescent back in the 70′s. My bedroom window over looked it. The only story I remember was about a German pilot who parachuted out and got caught on the tower and died hanging there. How true that is I don’t know. You used to be able to get in the basement bit but we never went too far in. Bunch of cowards aye!

  31. Andrew Huggett says:

    My Nan worked there (Betty Edmonds) in the 70s/80s and was on those ghost nights with the youth club! She said you could hear the hustle and bustle of the kids in the dinning room(the 5aside hall), and things being thrown in the basement if a bible was taken down there!!
    I got locked in the basement once with another kid, never saw or heard anything, but you didn’t need too! That was a spooky place on it’s own. And totally amazing.

  32. J says:

    Im not sure if this is 100% true but there is a big tree stump down in the basement which looks very old. Apprently they used to sacrafice virgins on. Out of all the rooms down there that feels the most scary.


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