Once located at the top of Toothill Lane, the now demolished Toothill Grove was built in 1805 and enlarged ten years later. By the Edwardian period the house was occupied by the Eastwood family and in 1910 it was the scene of a tragedy when Olive Eastwood, the popular daughter of the family, was discovered dead in the summer house, having taken her own life. Some weeks previously she had fallen from her bicycle and suffered a concussion which resulted in bouts of depression, leading the inquest returned a verdict of “suicide whilst the balance of the mind was disturbed”.
For many years after her death, until the demolition of the house in the 1960s, the girl’s ghost was believed to haunt Toothill Grove. The story was given credence by the fact that a blind appeared always to be drawn in one of the upstairs windows, said to be that of the bedroom of the dead girl, now never used. However, in an article for the Brighouse Echo date 18th August 1995, local history correspondent “Rowan” assures readers that it was in fact merely a dummy window installed for the purposes of symmetry and there was nothing behind the blind at all.
Although this is a somewhat prosaic and effectively debunked story, it illustrates how local tragedies and seemingly mysterious old buildings can quickly enter local folklore. The article in the Echo was prompted by an inquiry from a reader who had heard the house was haunted in his childhood but had no idea of the story behind it. Had Toothill Grove not been demolished it would probably still today have enjoyed a reputation as a “haunted house” in the oral tradition of local children, even without an attached narrative. All neighbourhoods have such buildings after all.
However, belying this prosaic naturalistic explanation, are the experiences of the woman who currently occupies a house built on the site of Toothill Grove. During alteration work, she discovered a concealed room behind the bathroom wall, since which time she has heard mysterious knockings in that part of the house and often seen a grey shadow in the corner of the room or on the staircase. She now wonders if the position of her bathroom might correspond with the former position of the bedroom in which Oliver Eastwood committed suicide.