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Ghostly Whispers in the Wind: Investigating the Mysteries of the SS Shieldhall in Southampton

Is there anything in the shadows
SS Sheildhall in Southampton

SS Shieldhall, Southampton

On a blustery evening that promised gusts reaching a formidable strength of 70 mph, thanks to the temperamental whims of Storm Kathleen, I found myself standing at the precipice of adventure and history at dock 110 in Southampton. The air was charged with excitement, not just from the storm, but from the anticipation of visiting a marvel of maritime heritage—the SS Shieldhall, a steamship celebrating her 70th year afloat.

The SS Shieldhall is more than just a ship; she is a living museum, a testament to the era of steam-powered vessels that dominated the seas from the late 19th century until the mid-1960s. This period marked the zenith of these ships, making the Shieldhall a precious link to a bygone era of maritime exploration and industry. With both her machinery and aesthetic harking back to the classical lines of 1920s steamers, the Shieldhall embodies the transition from riveted to welded ship construction—a pivotal moment in British shipbuilding history.

Built in Glasgow - 1954

Constructed on the orders of the Glasgow Corporation by the reputable Lobnitz & Company at their Renfrew shipyard, Shieldhall’s keel was laid in 1954, and she was launched into service by 1955. Initially, her role was pragmatic and unglamorous, tasked with transporting treated sewage sludge for disposal at sea. However, even in this capacity, she served a noble purpose, offering disadvantaged families and war veterans complimentary day excursions along the River Clyde, thus continuing a tradition of community service dating back to World War I.

The winds of change caught up with the Shieldhall by the late 20th century, and after being laid up, she was rescued from the brink of scrap in 1988 by the Southampton City Museum Services and a dedicated preservation society. Their efforts were not just about saving a ship but preserving a piece of history, a decision that led to the establishment of the Solent Steam Packet Limited and, eventually, the Steamship Shieldhall Charity. The hard work and dedication of countless volunteers have kept Shieldhall operational, making her a beloved fixture in the Solent and beyond, offering passengers a unique glimpse into maritime history.

Whispers in the dark
SS Sheildhall - Is there anytyhing there

Arrival for the Investigation

My visit to the Shieldhall was greeted by the warm welcome of these volunteers, whose passion for preserving this historical gem was palpable. Stepping aboard felt less like crossing a gangway and more like stepping back in time, a sensation underscored by my own background in maritime and naval history. The familiar surroundings whispered tales of the past, of voyages across open seas, and of the countless souls who had tread her decks.

The evening's exploration was not just a journey through history but an investigation into the unknown. Armed with modern electronics and a healthy dose of scepticism, we sought to peel back the veil between the present and the past, to listen for the whispers of those long gone. Our investigations yielded curious results—electronic anomalies, mysterious shapes captured in photographs, and inexplicable sensations that defied logical explanation. Whether these were messages from the past or simply the tricks of the mind, they added a layer of mystery to our adventure.

Despite our technological aids, much of the ship remained elusive, with areas like the engine room closed off for maintenance. Yet, even in the spaces we could explore, there was a sense of connection, a dialogue between the past and present facilitated by our electronic intermediaries. However, the true nature of these interactions remained as elusive as the wind that buffeted the ship in her berth.

The Investigation Concludes

As the night drew to a close, we left the SS Shieldhall with more questions than answers. Our encounters, while not providing concrete evidence of the supernatural, hinted at the presence of something onboard, something beyond our understanding. The stories of those who once called the Shieldhall home, from the sailor who met an untimely end 'falling down a ladder' to the child still searching for her father, lingered with us, a poignant reminder of the lives intertwined with the ship’s history.

The SS Shieldhall stands as a monument to human ingenuity, resilience, and the enduring allure of the sea. She is a bridge between eras, offering a tangible connection to the past and a reminder of the stories that have shaped our world. As we look to the future, it is my hope that the efforts of the volunteers and the interest of those who visit will ensure that the Shieldhall continues to sail through time, a proud ambassador of maritime history and heritage.

The DS Haunts Team’s investigation may not have uncovered definitive proof of the paranormal, but it reaffirmed the importance of preserving our past and keeping the stories of those who came before us alive.


  • Did the people we identified ever sail or have a connection to the SS Shieldhall?

  • How do the electronics work, how effective are the EMF Reader and Frequency/sound scanners?

  • What have other groups discovered?

Is there something there
Ghost Hunting Wizardry

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