Opening up Derby's 'haunted' tunnels could bring visitors flocking
A THINK-TANK set up to promote tourism in Derby wants the city's tunnels to be opened up to the public.
Derby Tourism Network, headed by ghost hunter Richard Felix, is trying to raise the city's profile and bring visitors flocking.
The group believes that if someone is willing to open the tunnels on a regular basis they would help boost the city's profile as a tourism destination.
Speaking at last night's meeting, held at the Tiger Inn, in Lock Up Yard, where the entrance to the tunnels can be found, Mr Felix said: "Derby is this wonderful city that needs to be thrust into the forefront when people think about somewhere to come to visit.
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"We have this wealth of tourism opportunities and the tunnels are just another part of that. It would be wonderful if someone would come forward and look at a way of opening them to the public."
Earlier this year, Derby's Cathedral Quarter bosses came up with the idea of allowing visitors to take an alternative view of the city's historic buildings.
This included offering tours of the tunnels and Derby's cathedral tower, which have been taking place once a month since April.
Mr Felix leads the tour, which takes visitors for a walk through the tunnels beneath the city centre, telling stories of how they were previously used and the ghostly sightings that have been witnessed over the centuries. However, he wants the tunnels to be opened more often.
Businessman Ashley Waterhouse is a member of Derby Tourism Network.
He said: "Derby has some absolute gems for tourists to come and see and what we are trying to do is make visitors and businesses more aware of what is here on their doorstep.
"We want to promote what this great city has to offer to its people and further afield."
Derby's tunnels stretch under the Guildhall.
Mr Felix said one ghost that supposedly haunts them is Alice Wheeldon, who was known as the Pear Tree Poisoner.
She was put on trial in 1918 for plotting to kill the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.
But it eventually came to light that the British Government had set her up, because she had been harbouring men who did not want to fight in the First World War.
She had been marched along the tunnels to her court case and now supposedly walks through them in the afterlife.
Mr Felix said other cities had success with opening similar attractions and he believes that can be replicated here.
He said: "London has its dungeons and Nottingham has its Galleries of Justice.
"It would be great if someone could do the same in Derby."