12 Mar 2012
His regular haunt: Bar staff spooked by ghost of landlord murdered at pub 116 years ago
By VALENTINA JOVANOVSKI
Lasting impression: Staff say the spirit of Henry Skinner is still present at the pub
Most pubs are used to seeing scuffles and disturbances on their premises, but they are usually not of the supernatural kind.
However, at the Trocadero in Birmingham, West Midlands, Henry Skinner, a former landlord of the well-known city-centre bar, is making his presence felt 116 years after he was murdered there.
Mr Skinner knocks over glasses, flings beer mats and even throws loose change to the annoyance of staff.
But far from being a gin-soaked regular propping up the bar, Mr Skinner is in fact a ghost.
And in the centenary year of the pub being christened the Trocadero, he has stepped up his anti-social behaviour.
Mr Skinner served in the military before taking over at the establishment which was then named the Bodega, an upmarket winebar that was a famous haunt of thespians and sportsmen.
The burly publican was well-known in the city and ran a popular boxing academy.
But on December 5, 1895, he made the mistake of crossing brothers Herbert and Arthur Allen.
Arthur Allen worked at the pub but was sacked on the spot and a furious row over wages erupted. In a fit of rage his brother, grabbed a gun and shot the landlord.
Haunted: Visitors have said they have witnessed supernatural activity at the Trocadero pub
The Birmingham Gazette reported: 'The bulldog pattern bullet, quite capable of felling an ox, buried itself in the wainscoting.
'Skinner turned back towards the noise and the next shot caught him in the side of the chest as he turned.'
But Mr Skinner is not the only spirit said to wander the building, which became a drinking house in 1883.
Spooked: Bar manager Peter Yeomans said his staff have had ghostly sightings
Two girls who fell to their deaths on a spiral staircase also make an occasional appearance.
The wafting smell of burning wood is also believed to be a ghostly reminder of the building's previous use as a fire station.
Deadly brawl: Herbert Allen shot Henry Skinner after an argument over wages
Current manager Pete Yeomans admitted the only spirits he has seen have been on the top shelf.
But the 30-year-old added: 'A previous manager saw a ghostly gentleman and she felt she always had to say hello and goodbye to Henry.'
Yet his partner Kayleigh Thomas, who has worked at the Trocadero since 2006, has encountered Mr Skinner on a number of occasions.
She said: 'He's a friendly ghost. I've never seen him, but I've heard him many times. He tends to knock over glasses and leave things out.
'You'll open up and find some very strange things have been placed on tables, such as clocks.
'But his party piece is making the money in fruit machines rattle. That can be a bit unnerving when you're the only one in the room.'
Michael Reddy, who runs ghost walks through the city, said the Trocadero ticks all boxes when it comes to hauntings.
He said: 'It has a significant number of ghosts in there, that's the difference with it.'
'It's a fascinating building and an important part of our heritage.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113519/Bar-staff-spooked-ghost-landlord-murdered-pub-116-years-ago.html#ixzz1outhrWYP