London, the capital of England and United Kingdom is famous for its historic sites and modern infrastructure. Not only these gothic theatres and abbeys, but some of the present day structures also count themselves in amongst these most haunted places in London-
Table of Contents
The wall at the back of Amen Court used to belong to Newgate prison, which was demolished in 1902, and shielded a passageway which is still there, where condemned prisoners once walked along to their executions, and were then buried underneath it, it is known as Dead Mans Walk.
There are many ghosts who are said to haunt here, the most well known being the black dog of Newgate, which is a black shapeless form which moves around the top of the wall, slides down and then disappears. With this comes a horrid smell and sounds of footsteps.
This is thought to stem from when Henry III reigned and a famine struck London, and the felons to combat their starvation turned to cannibalism. One day a scholar was imprisoned there for sorcery. He was quite a portly man, and this was too much of a temptation, and within days the older inmates ate him.
Also, Amelia Dyer got paid to look after unwanted babies. she was known as the Reading Baby Farmer. But while still receiving the money, she had drowned the babies in one of London’s Rivers. Later, she was executed for this.
Aldwych station was open in 1907 and was originally part of the Piccadilly line. With being so close to many West End theatres, it gained the unofficial title of the Theatre Line. Aldwych station itself was built on the site of an old London theatre – the Royal Strand.
During the Second World War the line was closed and the tunnels used as an air raid shelter and to store various national treasures from the British Museum, including the Elgin Marbles. On 30th September 1994 the line was closed because the cost of refurbishing the lifts at the station could not be justified. However, the line lives on and is used by TV and film (patriot games) as a working set of an underground station. At street level much of the original station can now be seen.
The ghost who haunts Aldwych station has been seen on the tracks at night by staff who clean the tunnels and stations. They believe it is the ghost of an actress coming back for another curtain call as Aldywch was built on the site of the old Royal Strand Theatre.
The club is the largest one in London. It was closed for many years until it was reopened by Fred Batt the present owner. The club was infamous during the 50’s due to its connections with the underworld. Some people known to go there were the Kray brothers and Ruth Ellis who was a hostess there in 1948 when the club was called The Locarno.
Some of the things seen here are dark shapes which move across the room, a ghost of a woman, hearing footsteps and doors opening on their own.
Drury lane theatre
In 1663 the first theatre was built on this site on behest of Thomas Kiligrew, it was destroyed by fire in 1672, a second larger theatre was built by Kiligrew in 1674 this was demolished in 1791 to make way for a third theatre which was to be even bigger it was built in 1794 but again this was destroyed by fire in 1804. The present theatre was built in 1812. The theatre was managed by Samual Arnold and was overseen by a board of directors and a sub committee. It has played host to many popular stage productions. Today it is part of the West End theatre scene and is owned and manage by Really Useful Theatres.
There are an handful of ghosts that are said to haunt the theatre the most popular is the man in grey, who is dressed as a nobleman from the 18th century if he is seen it is believed that it is a good omen. Joe Grimaldi is also said to haunt there, he was responsible for killing a fellow actor Thomas Hallam, in an argument, he thrust a cane into his face which pierced Thomas’ left eye.
This parkland has seen a lot of history and much sadness in its time, but also holds happy memories for some. Elizabeth I is known to have strolled there when it was more like a meadow.
In 1554 the Royalists fought Wyatts troops there, and there have been reports of murders, robberies and rapes happening in the grounds, also it was a favorite spot to hold duels. Sir Robert Peel died there when he was thrown from his horse.
The park even on a bright summers day is said to have a stillness about it and mystery seems to surround it, and there is a sense of sadness. In the park there is a tree and nobody seems to like it or want to go near it it is known as the death tree, as it is known people have committed suicide there, near the tree voices have been heard.
This is housed under some of the existing arches of the Greenwich and London railway line. Little is known of the history of the building as we see it today, but it is known that it once was a stable block, wine cellar and possibly an orphanage.
In 1212 on the same site stood the hospital of Saint Thomas the Martyr, which was run by a mixed order of nuns and monks and was used for sick, poor and homeless.
In the 17th century Toolet Street where the dungeons are situated and the surrounding areas were well known for bear, dog and cockfighting and during World War 2 this part of London was the most bombed place in Britain.
It became The London Dungeons in 1975 and it shows the darker side of British History, including displays on murders and executions.
The dungeons are said to be haunted and some of the things witnessed are shadowy figures, in the mortuary area there is a mock operating table and a phantom as been seen looking down at it, in the ‘pre plague’ area a man and two children are seen, cries are heard, and doors open and shut by themselves.
The building was started in April 1840 and completed in 1842, the cost of the build was £84,186 12s 2d. It was originally built to hold 520 prisoners each to have their own cell, conditions were much better and it was an healthier place, it became a model prison and 6 were built similar to this within the next 6 years.
In 1902 Pentonville began to house prisoners who were due to be executed due to the closure of Newgate. Condemned cells were added and an execution shed built in the yard, the Gallows from Newgate were transferred there. In 1920 an execution room was built inside the prison, to save the prisoner having to walk to the shed.
Pentonville became a teaching place for hangmen to learn how to carry out executions they would use a dummy instead of a prisoner.The training course was in the week beginning 25th April 1960.
Pentonville’s 120 hangings were carried by. William Billington did 7, with John Billington doing the next one, before handing it over to Henry Pierrepoint who did the next 7. John Ellis carried out the next 6, interrupted by Tom Pierrepoint with the next two, before resuming for a further 17. William Willis hanged 1 Frederick Bywaters as Ellis was busy. After Ellis resigned, Robert Baxter took over for the next 24 executions.
Tom Pierrepoint did 4 more hangings, two in 1937, one in 1941 and one in 1943 (Charles Koopman), while Alfred Allen carried out his only execution here, that of Frederick Murphy in August 1937. Stanley Cross was to hang the first 3 spies at Pentonville, After that, Albert Pierrepoint took over. He executed 42 men between 1941 and 1954 and carried out his first hanging when he executed Antonio Mancini on the 31st of October 1941.
The very first execution was in 1902 a John Mcdonald was hung for the murder of Henry Groves over a dispute of money.
The youngest person to hang was 18 year old Henry Julius Jacoby in June 1922 for the murder of Lady Alice White, whom he tried to rob in her hotel room, he worked at the hotel as a pantry boy.
The last to hang was 21 year old Edwin Albert Arthur Bush in July 1961 for the murder of Elsie Batten, when he tried to rob the shop she was working in.
Some of the more famous people to be hanged at Pentonville were Timothy John Evans and Reginald Halliday Christie of 10 Rillington Place. Timothy was hanged in 1950 for the murder of his baby daughter Geraldine and he also confessed to the murder of his wife and it was thought to be a very open and shut case for which he was tried , found guilty and executed, but in 1953 more bodies were found at Rillington place and the landlord Reginald was executed in July 1993 for these crimes, Timothy’s crime was then put in doubt he was given a posthumous pardon in 1966, the case today is still surrounded in doubt and mystery.
There are said to be a few ghosts at the prison, one is said to be Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was hanged in November 1910 for the murder of his domineering American Born wife, at 39 Hilldrop Crescent London, the house no longer exists it was destroyed during world war 2. There is a patch a grass known as Crippen’s Grass at the prison where he was hanged, and it is said that is ghost can be seen with a crooked neck.
St James Church, Garlick Hill
The church was built in 1326 on the site of an older church, the church was destroyed in The Great Fire of London and was rebuilt in 1682. In world War II a bomb landing in the church destroying a stained glass window but failed to go off.
In 1954 it closed until 1963 due to the Death Watch beetle being found in the roof timbers, and more recently in 1991 the counterweight of a crane on a nearby building site, destroyed the rose stained glass window which was replaced by plain glass, smashed a chandelier, which was replaced by copying off the original design and the pews got totally destroyed, these were then redone in oak to match the choir-stalls.
The church has inside a mummy which is thought to be at least 500 years old, the body was kept in a cupboard in the vestibule of the church and was found in 1839 when excavations were taking place, the body had been buried in a glass panelled coffin near the altar before it was destroyed by the fire. Over the years it as become known as Jimmy Garlick, it is thought he was of some importance as the mummy had been embalmed, which was unusual for those times.
There as been a ghost which as been seen many times in the church and it is thought to be this man, noises have been heard and also objects have been moved.
St Pancras Chambers
This is a grade 1 listed building which fronts St Pancras Station, it was built in 1868 as The Midland Grand Hotel and took eight years to build, during it heyday it was one of the most opulent hotels in London. Due to becoming outdated and expensive to refurbish it was closed in 1935. It was then renamed St Pancras Chambers and used as railway offices.
In the 1980s it failed to gain its fire certificate and was therefore closed, and as since remained empty, up until 2004 when plans were proposed to turn into accommodation. At the time of building to make way for the hotel and goods depot, over three thousand houses were demolished, during part of the construction it went through the burial ground of the church and a coffin was exposed, proper reburial was organised.
There have been a few ghost sightings at the hotel Roman soldiers marching through the basement, a women who could not cope with being pregnant out of wedlock is said to have committed suicide by throwing herself down the stairs and is known to make her presence felt and a staff staircase that leads into room ten, a ghost of a man is seen going up the stairs and when followed he runs away into room 10.
Originally known as Bryck Place the house was built in 1535 by Ralph Sadleir, and is the oldest residential property in Hackney. Over the years the building as had many uses and owners. It was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1938. It was renamed Sutton House in 1953.
During the late 20th century the house was condemned as unsafe. A extensive refurbishment and renovation works were carried out after the Sutton House Society mounted a campaign to save the building. It was then opened to the public as a museum and gift shop.
The ghosts that are thought to haunt the house are a blue lady, a grey ghost, and wailing hounds. Also objects are known to move across the rooms, sudden drops in temperatures and cabinets doors shut and open by themselves.
The tower of London
The White Tower is a square building with turrets on each corner which gave it its name and is in the middle of a complex of several buildings. It has been the home over the years of many monarchs. In 1078 William the Conqueror ordered The White Tower to be built out of stone unlike previous fortresses built mainly out of wood.
When Richard the Lion heart was King he had the moat dug out, and filled with water from the Thames, this was drained in 1830. A royal menagerie was established possibly in 1204 when King John reigned he was given a wedding present of three leopards (more than likely to have been lions) and when the animals were moved to Bulwark, it was renamed the Lion Tower. It was regularly open to the public.
Due to the opening of London Zoo the attraction began to deteriorate and by 1835 the last of the animals were moved to the zoo and most of The Lion Tower Was demolished apart from the Lion Gate. Public executions took place outside the tower and some high profile people were executed on Towers Hill, and Nobles (and women) were executed inside the complex at Tower Green.
Some people who were beheaded inside the tower were William Hastings 1483, Anne Boleyn 1536, Margaret Pole 1541, Catherine Howard 1542, Jane Boleyn 1542, Lady Jane Grey 1554 and Robert Devereux 1601. Also over the many people have been horribly tortured and imprisoned here.
The Tower as also served as a prison, armoury, treasury, public records office, refuge, and observatory.
Legend as it that ravens must remain by the tower and if this is done then it will be safe from invasion but if they leave then the White Tower will crumble and the Monarchy will fall. There are currently 8 ravens and they are prevented from flying away by having their flight feathers trimmed.
Today the Tower is a tourist attraction and manned by Yeoman Warders. The haunted Tower of London includes the following Towers-
Legges Mount, Deveraux Tower, Flint Tower, Bowyer Tower, Brick Tower, Waterloo Block, Chapel of St Peter And Vincula, Hospital Block, Royal Fusiliers Block, Martin Tower, Brass mounts, Casemates, Constable Tower, Beauchamp Tower, Jewel House, The White Tower, Wardrobe Tower, Raven’s Lodgings, Middle Tower, Byward Tower. Bell Tower, The Queen’s House, Bloody Tower, Wakefield Tower, Traitors Gate, St Thomas’ Tower, Lanthorn Tower, Cradle Tower, Well Tower, Develin Tower, Salt Tower, New Armouries and Broad Arrow Tower.
Too many ghosts are said to be roaming at The Tower of London. Most being people who were once tortured, imprisoned or executed here, the most reported ghost is Anne Boleyn who was beheaded and is seen carrying her head under her arm, others are Sir Walter Raleigh near to the cell where he was once kept.
The Wakefield tower is haunted by Henry VI who was murdered there. Margaret Pole Countess of Salisbury is said to be seen being chased by an executioner. Just as it happened in real life, she was about to be beheaded and ran off. The executioner gave chase and what was to follow was a very brutal and bloody execution as it took 4 blows of the axe before she was fully beheaded. Also screams, and marching soldiers have been heard, strange lights seen and people have the sense of uneasiness.
The Viaduct Tavern
The pub opened in 1869. It was named after the Holborn Viaduct which stood opposite and opened in the same year. It stands were previously used to be the Giltspur Street Computer, which explains why there are still a few cells in the basement. The area was known to be quite rough, evidence of this can be seen by the small booth behind the bar, from which the landlord would sell tokens to buy beer, therefore keeping cash away from his bar staff.
There are 3 large prominent painting in the pub each of a rubenesque woman representing either banking, agriculture or the arts; the middle picture has a hole in the woman’s buttock, which was done by a soldiers bayonet during a scuffle at the time of the World War I. Many unsavoury characters have used the pub and have been kept in the cells, so it is not really surprising that there have been reports of poltergeist activity, especially down the basement.
Where ghosts make themselves known by making people feel uncomfortable, turning the lights off and/or banging the door shut. Also items have been thrown, strange noises heard and people have been touched.