Friday, 9 February 2018

The Ghost in the Dome

You see this all goes back to at least 1998 and maybe further back.

I had done this M.Phil at the Poly in the early 1980s and it was about George Livesey who was the big man in the late 19th century gas  industry.  He had built East Greenwich Gas Works  and I rather thought - as the Millennium neared - well this was my big chance!

I was also researching the history of the peninsula and for a long time I had been going down there and climbing through hedges and finding things (I was younger then), chatting up security men and so on.  I got to know Kay Murch who was the last gas works employee on the site and by then she was site manager for the New Millennium Experience Company.  Kay was a local lady, who had started in the gas works as a typist, and she was all right.

So - its 1998 - one morning I open the Guardian and there is a big three page spread about the Dome, and Kay had taken a group of press men round the site. She had been asked about stories of a ghost - oh, yes, she had said - its George Livesey who built the gas works, Mary Mills knows all about it.'   There it was, in print.

So - next evening there I was on ITV - at what was then the Livesey Museum in the Old Kent Road. Telling the world about George.

And then I sort of forgot about it. But then once the Dome was opened in 2000 I got a call from their press officer - who I knew anyway. And down I went for an interview with Psychic News and Fortean Times.  'Tell us' they said 'did Mr. Livesey have any hobbies'.  'Oh yes, he liked to go to the seaside' .  'Oh' says the press officer 'there is a seaside zone in the Dome ... and its on the site of the old gas company office block'.  Ah ha.  

Next thing I was on the John Dunn show going down the river on Viceroy and telling them all about Livesey live on air - except when I mentioned Blur and Park Life in Riverway (they put music over that bit and told me off - the John Dunn show never had music recorded after 1970).   

Anyway it all pops up from time to time in ghost hunting journals. Personally I think Livesey was a committed Christian, rational and very very bright and would have had no truck with becoming a ghost.

BUT some years later I met some bloke who said to me that he was the ghost in the Dome.  He said that in the Second World War he was fire watching down in the gas company offices. He was tired so he wrapped himself up in a sheet and went to sleep on the comfy deep pile carpet in the director's offices. Then clank clank there is the cleaner in the morning, so he stood up, wrapped  in a sheet ............................ so you see that's how stories start.


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