Dating back to about 1530, the Dolphin serves as the oldest public house in Derby. Since the building is so old, it is often seen as a gathering place for ghosts. One of the most known ghosts of the premises is that of a ‘blue lady’ that has a habit of walking through the plastered walls. Customers in the pub and guests sitting in the tearooms located upstairs have claimed to see the old ghost.
An interesting aspect of the Dolphin is probably best seen in the 18th-century extension located on the left-hand side of the building in Full Street. It was not always an original part of the Dolphin, but instead, was the house of a doctor. During the 18th century, it was not unheard of to have the bodies of the deceased delivered to the homes of doctors so that additional medical study could take place. In fact, as part of the sentencing of execution for criminals, it was stated that their bodies would be taken to doctors so that they could use them for dissection. This created a fear amongst condemned prisoners that the dissection was far worse than the death sentence itself.
However, in the cellar of the doctor’s house, which is now a part of the Dolphin , one chilling incident took place. One morning, it is said that the doctor traveled down into his cellar after a body had been delivered. He transferred it to a table and removed the shroud. To his surprise, the man was still alive. The details of what happened next are a mystery and the facts have become jumbled with time. The doctor could have died from shock or the victim died shortly after. Some say the doctor may have killed the man by inserting his scalpel into the body.
At any rate, a great deal of bodies was dissected in the cellar located underneath the Dolphin. Many people believe that the property is haunted by a poltergeist that takes pleasure in turning the taps of the beer kegs off in that part of the cellar. Since the setting is one with a rather creepy history, staff members often choose not to venture into the cellar alone.
Ye Old Spa Inn
Around 1673, a man known as a Dr Chauncey, lucked upon a mineral spring located just off of Abbey Street, Derby. As an entrepreneur, Chauncey jumped at the chance to become a competitor of Buxton and Bath. Historical records of Derby state that Chauncey “”¦put down a basin into the spring of it, to come out fresh: he built a cover over the spring which discharges itself by a grate and keeps the place always dry. About 20 yards below the spa he made a handsome cold bath and some rooms to it at considerable expense!” When Dr Chauncey died, his spa seemed to fade away.
However, the spirit of the doctor lingered on, as it is said that his ghost may pay visits to the buildings he once owned. Some people claim that they feel as if they are not alone when they are in the cellar. Strange voices are also heard on the premises. Today, the site of the former spa is not a public house after being transformed into a double-gabled cottage and farm in its past life.