The Round House is a familiar sight to Brighouse shoppers, stood like a watch-house at the furthest limit of the town’s commercial centre, its bowed frontage projecting towards the main thoroughfare. Formerly it used to stand at the junction of Clifton Road and Wakefield Road, once a major crossroads until that artery was severed by the construction of the Ludenscheid Link town bypass in the 1970s. It had been built as pub in 1831, taking advantage of the relative liberalisation of the licensing laws in the Beerhouse Act of 1830. In later years it was named the Round Tavern until its closure at the end of 1999, whereupon it was converted into business premises but the building remains as distinctive as ever.
In a Brighouse Echo article dated 5th April 1996, the landlords at the time claimed the Tavern was haunted. Although the Barracloughs had taken over the pub some twelve months previously, they had only just moved into the upstairs flat when they began to see the apparition of a “small, gaunt-faced man with big eyes and short hair” in the cellars. The spectre was first witnessed by Mr. Barraclough and subsequently by his nine year old son, despite his father never having mentioned the experience. Some of the regulars reported similar sightings when they had used the cellars as a changing room for their pub football team, whilst the previous landlord’s dog had apparently always refused to enter the underground rooms.
The Barracloughs were so unnerved – especially their son, who was said to have been “hysterical and screaming” for hours after his encounter – that they called in local medium Jenny Bibby who sat by candlelight in the cellars and attempted to contact the spirit. She revealed his name was Walter and he had taken his own life in the cells of the former Magistrates’ Court next door (now the Salvation Army building) which must have been adjacent to the Round House cellars. However, she claimed his presence was not malevolent and that he repented of his crimes. Following twenty minutes of prayer, Mrs. Bibby concluded the “atmosphere had changed and the spirit had moved on”.