Stuart believes the image may be Eleanor Cooper, a young barmaid who drowned during the London Beer Flood of 1814. The Dominion Theatre stands on the site of the old Meux & Company Brewery, responsible for the 1.5 million litres of beer that burst from its holdings, flooding the nearby streets and killing at least seven people.
Photobomb from the Other Side?
Just before the show started, Stuart took a self photo of he and his partner. No one was sitting behind him at the time, the back row was empty, and yet what looks to be a young girl appears to be looking back at them.
Stuart could not explain the mysterious image. When the seats behind them were eventually occupied, it was by two men. Stuart can find no explanation for the strange girl in his photograph.
The strangest part is the colour, as she appears to be blue, or even slightly purple, which is a stark contrast to the overall red tone of the photo.
The Dominion Theatre is meant to have its ghosts, with people reporting a wide range of strange phenomena; a giggling girl, a entity that likes to throw things about, and a man who looks like he worked in some kind of factory.
The Dominion Theatre itself is not very old, being built in the late 1920's. A building does not need to be old to be haunted, but the images people have been seeing look to be dressed in much older clothing.
Perhaps they are the dead actors and actresses who called the theatre home, wearing their favourite props and costumes?
Maybe they are just 'walk ins' who liked the place and decided to settle down?
The theory I like the most, (as does the photographer) is that the ghost may be that of a young barmaid named Eleanor Cooper, who died nearly 200 years before the photograph was taken. She died in what is known as the ‘London Beer Flood’.
The London Beer Flood
All in all nearly one and a half million litres of booze smashed through the breweries brick wall, and out into the streets. The sound was said to be heard over a large part of the city.
As the wave of beer smashed its way through the streets and buildings, it swept many people up in its flow. Two young children swept away were essentially torn apart by debris, and several drowned. The brewery was located amongst poor houses, and many families rented rooms in peoples cellars, these filled with the brew quite quickly.
After the tide had passed, people rushed out to the streets to collect as much of the beer as they could. All manner of pots, pans and other holding vessels were used to save as much beer as they could. One gentleman figured the best vessel would be his own stomach... he died several days later from alcohol poisoning.
As word got out, people travelled to the scene to grab their share. I wonder what the priorities of these people were at the time; grab the beer or see to the people calling out for help?
Several other close calls with death happened in the wake of the flood. Some people would display the corpses of their family members who had perished in the flood, and charge a fee for viewing. At one such viewing, so many people were crammed into the room that the floor gave way, sending them into the cellar that was still filled with beer. Fortunately, on this occasion no one died!
Death of a Barmaid
The Meux Brewery continued to operate until 1922 when it was demolished, and now the Dominion Theatre stands in its place. After the catastrophe the brewery had to pay a fine, but no one person in the end was held responsible, as the judge deemed it 'an act of god'. The brewery even received a bit of bailout cash so it would not go bankrupt!
If the image seen in the picture is of Eleanor Cooper, perhaps she was slightly perturbed that no one was held responsible for her, or any of the other deaths, as a result of the beer flood, and now chooses to haunt the location the brewery once stood?
Regardless of whether the picture is of a ghost or not, it is a fascinating history. A tragic tale of lost life and spilt beer. There are no doubt people out there questioning which is the bigger loss...