Haunted Pippbrook

Pippbrook House

THE battle to save Pippbrook House from falling into the hands of developers took a spooky twist this week as the haunted history of the 18th-century building re-emerged.

The ghostly goings-on at Dorking's former library came back into the spotlight after a Facebook post on the Community Hub in Pippbrook's (CHiP) page.

The group is in the midst of a fight to have the property deemed an asset of community value, thereby delaying any possible development.

Pippbrook House was originally built in the 1750s by William Page and later served as the home of William Crawford MP.

It was demolished and rebuilt by William Henry Forman, a master of Glamorgan Ironworks, who erected a vmansion house at the site in 1856.

The mansion stopped being a residential property in 1928 as the cost of maintaining the building was too high.

Mole Valley District Council bought the house and some of the grounds – now subject to a sell-off – and installed library facilities in 1934. Pippbrook was then used as an office block before becoming a library again in 1986 and was closed in 2011.

But now spooky stories of a woman in a long dress walking the corridors of the Gothic building and a butler who spends his nights watching out the window of the former library, have added to the intrigue.

According to the stories, added to the CHiP page, the spirits have been reported at Pippbrook since at least the 1880s.

Throughout the years others have reported "poltergeistal activity" with knives being thrown down stairs, books being moved in the library and pens and pencils mysteriously piling up in the middle of the room.

Others have reported seeing a woman in a grey or green dress, possibly be a former tenant, walking the corridors.

Posting on the Memories of Dorking Facebook page, Sue Fairbrother said: "When I worked at Pippbrook in the early 1960s there was a caretaker who said he had seen a ghost of a woman in a cloak walking on the top landing."

And the tales have excited the members of CHiP, who say it has added something extra to their campaign.

Sally Elias said: "It started as a bit of light-hearted fun but, interestingly, a number of local people with links to Pippbrook's past have told me about a lady in a green cloak appearing on the stone staircase."

Former Dorking publican Roger Jones added: "It has certainly 'lifted the spirits' of all involved in Pippbrook House."