The City of London is so steeped in legend that there are likely more novels based within the bounds of this great city than any other in the world. It has been part of numerous wars and stricken with famine and disease and yet she is still here. With so much history and so many souls who have lived within her boundaries is it any wonder that spirits cling to it long after their human shell has expired?
We continue with our series on the most haunted places in London with a second helping. So, sit back and enjoy these great tales of hauntings and read on.
The Viaduct Tavern
This haunted locale takes us to Holborn and involves a building that was originally built in 1875 before being remodeled by Arthur Dixon. It is directly across the street from the Old Baily. As is the case for so many hauntings, this structure was placed directly upon the foundation of another building which used to be a prison. The Viaduct Tavern uses the cells as the pub’s cellar.
As one can imagine, with all the pain and suffering endured in the prison, there are lots of activity. The lights go on and off on their own and doors inexplicable lock and unlock themselves not to mention the terrible noises that accompany the activity. Staff do not like going down in the cellar at night.
In 1996, a pub manager who was working one Saturday morning had one of the doors slammed shut essentially locking him in as the lights went out. His shouts for help were heard by his wife who was upstairs. She came down to help him and found the doors to be unlocked and easy to open.
A few years later, in 1999, electricians hired to replace some wiring. One of the workers was continually tapped on the shoulder as he tore up the old carpet. At first, he thought his coworker was playing a trick on him but then they both saw the carpet they had just removed floating in the air before dropping unceremoniously on the floor.
There is not a great deal of information about when this pub was built. It is thought to be around 1663 according to what records exist. There is more than one spirit that lurks in this property. One spirit is that of a barmaid who hanged herself in the pub’s cellar when her affections were not returned from her lover. This area is now where guests sit. There are also reports of a man in a Cavalier uniform who can be seen crossing the main bar and vanishing into a pillar.
This pub has also been the cited as the location of one of the first autopsies, conducted on a body removed from the Highgate Cemetery.
The Spaniards Inn
This pub was built in 1585 and is found at the edge of Hampstead Heath near Kenwood House. It was originally built as the country home of the Spanish Ambassador to James I of England and VI of Scotland.
This site is not just famous for tales of hauntings. Bram Stoker weaved a tale one night of ghosts and hauntings that ended up becoming the plot for his famed Dracula and Keats actually wrote his ‘Ode to Nightingale’ in the famed garden.
The structure was converted to a pub by Francesco and Juan Porero who dueled over the hand of a woman. Juan was killed and buried in the garden, his spirit always seeking his love.
There are also reports of a lady in white who can be strolling through the garden and thought to be a victim of Dick Turpin a famed ruffian and highwayman. His spirit is said to be seen from time to time too.
The Old Queen’s Head
Build in 1830, this pub can be found in Islington and built on the site of another pub which was demolished in 1829. Sir Walter Raleigh was said to have owned this property at one time. The reports of haunting include a woman and a young girl both in Tudor clothing. The young girl can be heard running around the pub after hours and can be heard running up the stairs ahead of customers. Some have reported her crying and slamming doors as well. Most of the activity happens on the first Sunday of each month.
This is one of the darker tales in this collection for this structure was built in 1752 and has a sinister connection to two of Jack the Ripper’s victims. This pub was demolished and moved to a different spot a few meters away in 1851. The name ten bells, comes from the number of bells in the tower of Christ Church.
This area has a direct connection with Annie Chapman and Mary Jane Kelly both victims of Jack the Ripper. Chapman enjoyed drinking in the pub and on the night of her murder had been seen carousing with a few other customers. Mary Kelly used the area just outside the door to pick up clients as a prostitute. Her mangled remains were found right across the street from the pub.
In the 90s, staff who live on the premises reported an old man in Victorian clothes who would sometimes sleep with them in bed. As soon as they screamed, he would vanish.
Once, in the 19th century, a visiting psychic removed to go into a particular room citing that a baby had been murdered there. Another researcher found a burlap sack with Victorian baby clothes and a knife in it nearby the room the psychic refused to enter.
Reported in 2001 by a tenant, the sound of footsteps and laughter continually sounded directly outside of his door but when he investigated no one was there. He would also report that he would be pushed from behind every time he went down the stairs causing him injury.