Dolphin Vat

The Dolphin, 34 High Street, Littlehampton.

Blaster F. V. Holliss.

Dolphin Vat 2

Photograph made available by Littlehampton Museum.  

The building has had three major fires since its original construction in the early 1700s, the last being in 1928 (the photo above shows the building before the fire in 1928). In August 1806, Lord George Gordon Byron stayed at the pub and supposedly nearly drowned as he was swimming in the nearby River Arun.

In the past the hotel was known to be a safe haven for smugglers and the cellar held a tunnel that ran between the ‘Dolphin’ and the ‘Crown’. The tunnel was rumoured to have stored contraband brandy and tobacco.

In the 19th century the hotel cellar was used as an overspill for the town morgue on many occasions because of its cold temperature. It is well documented that parts of the hotel are haunted, including a woman called Jane who haunts the ladies toilets. She was murdered by her uncle William who also roams the hotel; he likes to stand behind women and breath on their necks. Ghostly children have been seen and heard in room 7. In room 2 a woman in white has been seen to float through the door. A number of landladies have captured what they believe to be a full apparition of a spirit on their cctv. The hotel is the now home of the Littlehampton Investigative Ghost Hunting Team (LIGHT), who hold public paranormal investigation evenings on the premises.

Ian Fleming the journalist and naval intelligence officer lived at the hotel while he helped found No. 30 commando unit which was based in Littlehampton in 1944.