A bricked up doorway in the maze of cellars running underneath the town’s oldest hotel has been knocked down to discover a room which hasn’t seen the light of day for a century.
Now the manager at the North Euston Hotel is hoping someone may know what the room was used for as he continues a quest to piece together the fascinating history of the Victorian building.
It was only by chance the large space was unearthed when contractors smashed the old brickwork down to find out where pipes were running to.
Stephen Dale, hotel manager said: “They were trying to trace some pipes as part of ongoing work to upgrade the hotel.
“We knew there was something behind the brickwork but we had no idea what.”
The large room is dusty, dark, strewn with rubble and it feels like stepping back in time a hundred years.
It has a bricked archway, which is below street level, and in front of that, a timber frame and an old panelled door which looks like it could have been added at a later date.
Written on one of the walls in old style handwriting is a name – Robert Atkinson – and an address. It’s almost illegible but the number 39, and the words ‘Road’ and ‘Fleetwood’ are just about readable.
The space to the side of the room has wood panelling hinting that it could have been used as a stable.
“We haven’t a great deal of information about this part of the cellar,” said Stephen. “There’s a fireplace and we are thinking it could have been used as a sleeping quarter for cellarmen.
“Fleetwood Rotary Club has already done some research and we know that during the Boer War, the hotel was used as a school of musketry.”
There are still iron doors intact which are numbered and were used as an armoury.
While officers lived upstairs during the war, the men in their charge lived and slept below stairs in the cellars along with their horses.
One story connected with the cellar room tells of a young fusilier from Enniskillen who had become so desperately depressed and homesick, he took his own life. The story is the ghost of the young man still walks the cellars today.
Further along the cellars, underneath the hotel’s ballroom, are Turkish-style baths.
Tunnels are also rumoured to carve their way from the hotel to the Mount, possibly as an alternative route out of the hotel for the soldiers.
Stephen added: “I understand there is very little in the deeds about the cellars. It’s a shame really.
“It would be great to find out why this particular room was bricked up and what really went on there.”