Vane Tempest Hall: The Ghostly Hauntings Revealed

The History Of Vane Tempest Hall, Gilesgate

Vane Tempest Hall is located in Gilesgate, County Durham. It has a long and complicated history that dates back to the 1860s. The site was originally built as the Gilesgate Militia Barracks and served as a headquarters and barracks for several Army units. Over the years, Tempest Hall became a staple in the Gilesgate community.

Vane Tempest Hall


1863, Vane Tempest Hall was built as the second Durham Militia Stores. It was an impressive snecked sandstone structure with an ashlar plinth designed with a Welsh slate roof in a mock castle style.

Although there are some discrepancies in the true timeline of the building, most historians believe that the construction took place around 1863, while the location was only used in 1865.

Late 19th-century

During the late 19th century, around 1884, to be exact, Vane Tempest took on a new role as a hospital for the isolation of smallpox patients in the Durham area.

The Barracks’ stables were repurposed to accommodate these facilities. Which included a chilling ‘dead room’ where dead bodies were stored once the patients had passed.

With a history of – and association with – this disease and the resulting deaths, there’s no wonder that this location has earned a reputation as one of the most haunted places in the UK.

World War II

Fast-forward to 1939 to 1945 during World War II. At this time, the military used Vane Hall as a lookout point to protect against any potential German threats during the war.

Tragically, many lives were lost while the site served as an army facility. But this is just another reason that paranormal enthusiasts and ghost hunters worldwide suspect something more lurking behind the seemingly innocuous exterior…

Post-war era

Towards the tail end of the 1940s, Tempest Hall became the base of the Gilesgate Community and Welfare Association. As well as being a headquarters for the company, the Hall served as a community centre and hosted several community activities.

These activities included scouts, tea dances, sporting activities, social gatherings, and even paranormal investigations! Vane Tempest Hall continues to serve as a community centre, a hotspot for lovers of the dark and mysterious. It has become one of the most famous haunted locations in Durham to date.

Today, the Hall is also noted as a Grade II listed building on the National Heritage List for England.

What Spirits Lurk In Vane Hall?

Tempest Hall, with its chequered yet fascinating history. It has earned a reputation as one of the few spots in Durham teeming with paranormal activity. And, after serving at the Gilesgate Militia Barracks and a smallpox hospital, we’re inclined to believe the rumours of ghouls and ghosts who still wander the grounds!

If you plan on going on a ghost hunt at Vane Tempest, keeping your wits about you is important. There are spectral soldiers and unexplained sounds that echo through the halls. This hotbed of activity is not for the faint of heart!

The Disfigured Soldier

One of the most commonly witnessed apparitions at Vane Tempest is that of a disfigured soldier. The story goes that this unnamed war hero tragically lost his life during an explosion in the late 1800s.

Guests who claim to have seen the lost soul have described his wounds as “horrific”. And even just seeing him is said to send guests screaming in terror! We don’t know about you, but the tale of a mangled soldier who appears around corners and at the end of passageways sounds like it is straight out of a horror film!

Even paranormal enthusiasts who have seen the soldier are left visibly shaken. So watch out for this spooky spectre. That’s if you’re brave enough to enter the doors of Vane Hall…

The Lady in White

Another haunting figure who is said to stalk the halls (and terrify unsuspecting visitors) is the Lady in White. According to local legend, the woman had an incredible love affair. It was with one of the soldiers stationed at the barracks, apparently.

Not much is known about the fate of these two star-crossed lovers. But there are plenty of rumours that even in death, the Lady continues wandering the halls and corridors. It’s presumed that she is searching for her long-lost love. But there may be more to this tale than any of us know…

The Clown

Here’s something we never thought we would say about an old historical building: it’s haunted by a clown! In fact, there have actually been rumours and sightings of the nightmare-inducing ghoulish figure of a clown at Vane Tempest Hall.

The reason behind the frightening apparition remains unknown. But the thought alone is enough to send shivers down our spine. It has been reported that anyone who has had the misfortune to encounter this mysterious ghost has been absolutely terrified by the experience, vowing never to set foot in the Hall again.

Whether this is fact or fiction, we’d recommend being on your guard when you enter the building. And keep your ghost-hunting equipment close at hand. After all, there’s nothing quite as spooky as the ghost of a clown who is very much out of place.

The parade grounds and burial grounds

The hauntings at Vane Tempest aren’t just kept within the walls of the old building. In fact, the grounds themselves aren’t exempt from their fair share of haunting stories.

The parade grounds are said to be haunted by the ghost of an old soldier. He’s said to have accidentally blown himself up while loading a cannon. Is this the disfigured soldier who roams the halls?.

Meanwhile, an old burial ground is on the other side of the barracks. It’s where several people are said to have spotted shadowy apparitions that take the form of a young woman. This may also be related to the Lady in White. But with such a rich and disturbing history, almost anything is possible at Tempest Hall.


Can I go ghost-hunting at Tempest Hall?

Vane Hall is open to paranormal investigators and novice ghost hunters who are brave enough to explore the grounds. However, it’s important to remember that guests are only allowed access to the building while on a guided tour with a reputable tour company. So remember to contact your local ghost hunters for more details!

What equipment should I take on a ghost hunt at Vane Tempest Hall?

When exploring Vane Tempest, we recommend taking your equipment with you. Not only are there disembodied voices, horrifying apparitions, and spooky encounters waiting for you, but there’s also a chance to be the first ghost hunter to capture undeniable proof!

Some basic ghost-hunting tools you’ll need (all of which can be found on our website) include:

  • EMF readers
  • EVP recorders
  • SLS or night vision cameras
  • Flashlights
  • Walkie-talkies


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!