The Giffard Arms
For many people a visit to the pub is a diversion into their third dimension - the first being at home and the second the workplace - and this unique pub in particular lives up to its third dimension / twilight zone reputation.
If you`ve not already paid us a visit then come and join us soon & take a sip from the devils cup.
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Crazy Giffard Videos
The Giffard Arms in its present form was born on March 3rd 2003. We ran a Gothic shop across the road and had customers from far and wide. People would often ask ‘where do we wear this stuff locally?’ In a City of 3000,00 inhabitants, and apart from the usual generic and bland watering holes you see everywhere in any City or town, there was nowhere to go unless you were prepared to travel.
Until one day, as if decreed by providence itself, a ‘To Let’ sign was posted up on the pub opposite the shop. The Giffard Arms has a long and proud history of being an Alternative/Rock venue, but in recent years had earnt itself a bad reputation and had fallen into disrepair.
However, it had a fantastic façade, although Tudor, it looked imposing and Gothic! It was filthy, neglected and the walls were actually a dirty cream colour. But...it had wooden panelling, plaster moldings and potential!!!
We put a business plan together, talked to the brewery and blagged the rest so it sounded as if we knew what we were doing. Although I am a third generation Publican, I hadn't run a pub for over 10 years, and things change! We must have convinced the brewery as we moved in a few weeks later.
10 years on and we are still going strong. A relaxed, but slightly weird venue for creatures of the night. It’s a Rock pub with Gothic tendencies. The walls are now Dragons blood red (a colour you can get from Dixon’s, honest), we have a huge Gothic chair and a reclaimed Christian pulpit as a DJ box (we are all going to hell!).
Money was tight, so we improvised and made the famous ‘Coffin tables’ out of the old pub tables. The carpet was laid way back in the early 80s, although I have been told it was the 1970s. A new one is on the way!
The pub has had its ups and downs over the last 10 years, we have lost dear friends through illness or other circumstances, but it’s the most weird and wonderful place. Although it has a reputation for being a little odd (well you would think that if you are dressed in Burberry and bling), we love the pub with a passion. It’s relaxed, friendly and makes you feel you’re in a local even in the heart of the City centre.
So come and have a drink with us, relax or let your hair down. We play the best rock and Alternative music in the Midlands.
The Giffard Arms is an unusual listed building, sandwiched between quite modern facades in the heart of the City of Wolverhampton.
Built in 1922 by J.A. Swann of Birmingham who specialised in Tudor buildings and restoration, whether stone or timber framed. The ‘period house’ is extraordinarily well done.
The Giffard family (correctly pronounced should be ‘Jiff’ similar to a once well known bathroom cleaner!), has for generations had local associations with Wolverhampton. The site once contained a town house of the Giffard family.
Basil Oliver author of The Renaissance of the English Public House, Faber and Faber, wrote ‘Somebody bothered about this building. They got an architect and craftsmen who knew what they were doing. The façade is a remarkably accurate rendering of Tudor stone buildings – it is almost repro rather than retro. One might wonder what this style is doing in this town but it does seem to fit in and add interest’.
There are four carved heraldic shields in the central panels in between the three floors of leaded windows, bearing the arms of Staffordshire and Wolverhampton with a Tudor rose and Portcullis in similar stone panels between the first and second floors. There is also a shield relating to Springfield Brewery who delivered to the pub after it was built.
Above the front doors are carved leaves and designs, and if you look closely you might even see the ‘green man’ hiding under what looks like a hat! Even the drainpipes have Tudor roses on them!
In the Dark room the windows have various stained glass bearing the Giffard family associations with the site. On both floors the rooms have oak panelling, although the bar areas have been changed around over the years, the pubs main features have remained the same since the time it was built.
Mr Swann was also responsible for the restoration in the late 1920s, of The Greyhound and Punchbowl Inn in Bilston. For those of you who don’t know, when I first met my husband Tom in 2005, he was the Landlord of The Greyhound and Punchbowl and I was the Landlady of The Giffard. As far as I am aware Mr Swann only built and renovated theses 2 pubs in this area. So definitely a connection there!
When you are outside having a cigarette just look up and see all the effort and details that Mr Swann put into the pub when he built it. Even the wooden arm that holds the pub sign has a gargoyle carved into it!
The Giffard Ghost
There is a lot of ghostly activity at The Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton. Unexplained sightings by customers and staff, even poltergeists. Strange feelings that someone has just walked or brushed past you. Glasses moving and just exploding for no reason, cold spots in certain places in the pub, doors closing, strange noises and smells (not just from the customers!). Some of the staff will not go into The Dark room without taking someone with them. Pussies!!!
There is a ghost that is documented who resides at The Giffard. Her name is Anne Horton. She lives on the upper floors around The Dark Room and living accommodation. She is reported to have taken her own life by hanging herself, although there is a story that she slit her wrists. She was a prostitute in the early part of the1900s (the pub was built in 1922, but The Giffard family owned a house on the site pre 1922). I should imagine, and this is only my thoughts, that life was pretty tough in those days, especially if you were a woman without a wealthy family or the right connections!
Other sightings are of a girl around the age of 11, who is often seen playing with wooden play bricks in the main bar, in the middle seat by the back window. She’s also been seen in the doorway in the kitchen of the upstairs flat. Another sighting is of a man, who is believed to be an old Landlord named John, who locks the pub up at night. He walks right through the actual bar area as it wasn’t there when he had the pub; it was where the juke box is. We’ve even been told that a dog haunts the bar, but I’m not too sure about that one!!
I know some of you reading this are sceptics and so was I when I first moved into the pub, but over the years things have happened over and over again that I just can’t explain…..
This is a condensed story of what happened to me one night at The Giffard Arms
The Psychic Society approached me and asked if they could use The Dark Room, as they had heard that we were haunted and wanted to do some tests etc. It was a Tuesday night, nothing out of the ordinary; the pub closed at 11pm. Everything was set up upstairs including motion sensors and video cameras. Myself and Tom stayed downstairs quite bored. At 2am I went upstairs to ask if they wanted coffee before they left, in doing so I set off the motions sensors!!! They said nothing had happened but would I like to join them.
So I sat on the stage next to a lady with a video camera in the dark! The lights were on in the corridor but the large double doors were closed, so was the door to The Darkroom and the fire exit doors. Nobody could come in or out of the room without us knowing about it. There were about 8 of us all together in The Dark Room including a medium/psychic. They asked me to talk out loud and ask who ever it was to join us. Talk about feeling foolish, but I had a go and next thing all the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and I started to cry for no reason. The room went icy cold and then, all I can describe as a bright glow, started from under the double doors. I’ve never seen people move so quick, one minute we are just sitting there the next video cameras on, thermometer readings taken and me crying!
A very bright, almost like a negative, girl appeared, she was wearing a smock and button boots and had dark severe bobbed hair, she looked at us, and I must say it was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. I looked through the video screen and I could see her as plain as day. The psychic told me her name was Lily; she then faded away with the light. I stopped crying and the cold feeling went. We were just sitting there chatting about what had just happened and they asked me to speak again. So I started talking saying it was an honour to see her and we were all privileged etc, soon as I said that I went ice cold so did the room temperature, I started weeping, that’s how I’d describe it, and the glow under the door started again. This time Lily not only appeared but she came into the room, about 4 steps from the doors and started to look around, almost skip up and down and then she faded away.
We checked the hallway, the motion sensors hadn’t gone off, there was no one in the hall, or on the stairs. There was no way to explain what had happened except to say that Lily was a ghost, an energy, but we all saw her, everyone in that room did. All the video cameras had lights, except one, even the playback on that one showed a glowing light although you couldn’t make out a figure.
I spoke out loud one more time, by this point I was totally knackered, emotional and cold. The light started again, I went cold and started crying (later I was told this was because I was picking up on Anne and Lilys emotions). Not only did Lily appear but a lady stood behind her, she had long dark brown wavy hair, tied back at the shoulders. Was this Anne Horton? I couldn’t see what she was wearing as she was standing behind Lily with both her hands on Lilys shoulders. They just stood there and looked at us for about 2 minuets. The feeling I got, (and this will sound bizarre), is that they were fine, quite happy to be there and they trusted us enough to show themselves to us. I felt very privileged, and still do, to have been able to witness their appearance.
So whether you believe me or not is up to you, but I was there along with 7 other people and we all saw the same thing that night. This is not a story this actually happened to me in The Dark Room at The Giffard Arms. Although I often get the feeling and some of the staff do, that someone is there, walking past or watching us.
So Anne Horton and Lily live with us at The Giff, you never know they might be sitting next to you one night having a quiet drink......