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
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.
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.