“I WAS brought up in Stanley, County Durham, and remember long walks around Beamish,” says Jim Vickers. “Across the road from Beamish Hall, I was always intrigued by a little wooden door in a wall that was always locked.

“As a teenager, a group of us were walking in that area and noticed the door was open. We plucked up the courage to have a look inside and saw a small corridor leading into total darkness. We went in further in and then noticed the corridor turned to the left and there was a low wall.

“We couldn't make out anything in the darkness but returned later with torches to find an icehouse, just like those pictured in your article. I noticed there were rusty hooks hanging from the ceiling which must have been used to hang meat and game.

“I don't know if it's still there – in my day, there was just Beamish Hall, a golf club and a tiny pig farm with no one else around for miles.

“The area was reputed to be haunted by 'The Grey Lady' but, thinking about it now, that was probably just a story to keep away superstitious locals.”

Beamish Hall, of course, is now a hotel beside the open-air museum. It certainly has plenty of icehouse potential, dating back to the 13th Century, although its heyday as a stately home was when it was acquired by the Davison family of wealthy Newcastle merchants. They married into the Eden and Shafto families, both very notable Durham names, although it was from the Shaftos that the hall was acquired by the Durham Coal Board after the Second World War in lieu of death duties.

But did it, or does it, have an icehouse? And does the Grey Lady still stalk the area?

If you have anything to add about this icehouse, or any others, please email chris.lloyd@nne.co.uk