Wesley McDermott contributes to Haunted Rooms, the leading source for haunted accommodation, haunted places to visit and ghost hunts across the UK and Ireland. In his never ending quest to find haunted locations nationwide, he’s come across a lot of haunted London places. So of course, we couldn’t resist asking him for his five secret (and often overlooked) haunted London hotspots.
The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, Smithfield
‘Surrounded by an ancient wall of weathered stone is Charterhouse, London’s only surviving Tudor town house. The building actually dates back to 1371 when it was used as a monastery for monks of the Carthusian Order, who prayed for the victims of the Black Death in 1348. On the ancient cobblestones of Charterhouse Square, the apparition of a monk has been seen, walking with head bowed down and hood pulled up. The screams from victims of the Black Death have also been heard, on the darkest of nights. Charterhouse itself is home to the ghost of its one time owner, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard. His ghost has been seen throughout the building, with his severed head tucked tightly under his arm.’
The Grenadier Pub, Belgravia, Westminster
‘Nestled in a secluded side street in Belgravia is The Grenadier, an intimate Old Tavern that was once the officer’s mess for soldiers in the Duke of Wellington Grenadier Guards, hence its name. It is believed “The Iron Duke” himself once enjoyed a tipple here. Visitors and staff alike have witnessed what is believed to be the ghost of a young soldier, who died after being caught cheating in a game of cards. Poltergeist activity is also a common occurrence, with chairs rattling and moving on their own. Objects are also known to move to different areas over night. If you want to stop by for a drink and the possibility of experiencing something paranormal, September seems to be most active time of the year. September is believed to be around the time the young soldier was murdered.’
Sutton House, 2-4 Homerton High Street, Hackney
‘Sutton House is a splendid 16th century red brick building, built by Henry VIII’s courtier, Sir Ralph Sadlier, in 1535. Several ghosts are said to reside in its oak panelled rooms. Phantom dogs are often heard wailing in the dead of night. Dogs who visit the house are often frozen at the bottom of the staircase, intrigued by something stood at the top, invisible to the human eye. The ghost of John Machell the younger’s wife, Frances, is also believed to haunt the house. She is reported to have died giving birth to twins in 1574. Referred to as the White Lady, her misty figure has been seen passing through the old rooms in the house. On one occasion in the 1990’s, an architectural student helping with renovations was staying in the house, in what is now the exhibition room, when he woke up to witness a lady in a blue dress, hovering over his bed. A house steward also witnessed the lady when he was awoken during the dead of night after his bed began to shake violently.’
Adelphi Theatre, 411-412 Strand, Westminster
‘The ghost that haunts the Adelphi Theatre is believed to be that of William Terriss, an actor murdered outside the theatre in 1897. William’s ghost – ‘a handsome old-fashioned figure with a flowing tie and a sombrero hat’ – has been seen on several occasions. His ghost has been known to appear, walking out onto the stage. He has also been known to appear in the dressing rooms. Recently, the comedian Jason Manford, talked about a strange experience whilst in his dressing room at the Adelphi. He was talking with his 3 year old daughter over Skype, when she suddenly asked him: “Daddy, what is that man doing behind you?” Asking her what he looked like, she then said: “He’s a soldier.” Apparently, William Terriss was supposed to play a part in ‘The Secret Service’, as a lieutenant in the American Army, on the very night he was murdered!’
The Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich
‘Designed by the architect Inigo Jones for the wife of Charles I, Henrietta Maria, the Queen’s House was finished in 1635. It stood as one of the finest most elegant buildings in London, and still does to this day. On a visit from a Canadian couple in 1966, a photograph was taken of the stunning Tulip staircase. When the film was developed on their return to Canada, they witnessed what quite clearly looked like a shrouded figure standing on the staircase. On closer inspection, it revealed what looked like two separate figures, seemingly ascending the staircase. Despite rigorous examinations by various photography experts, no rational explanation has ever been found, other than the figures must have been there on the staircase when the photo was taken.’
For more haunted locations in London, see hauntedrooms.co.uk.