London is a beautiful destination, where you can find breathtaking historical landmarks and where you can make wonderful memories that you’ll never forget for the years to come. But when night falls and silence expands throughout the city, a chill may shiver down your spine for when you wander the streets, you may not be alone. Follow along as we discuss the top 5 terrifyingly haunted places in London (in no particular order).
Ten Bells in the East End of London
This public pub resides at the corner of Commercial Street and Fournier Street in Spitalfields and has existed since the middle of the eighteenth century. Back then in 1755, it was called, “Eight Bells Alehouse,” deriving from the number of bells in the “peal” and it likely changed when a new set of chimes (with ten bells) was installed in 1788. Despite the number of bells changing again (remaining with eight bells), ‘Ten Bells’ stuck.
Today, Ten Bells is popularly known for its possible ties to two victims of Jack the Ripper – Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly, though these links are not confirmed as fact. Annie may have been drunk and inebriated before she was murdered and just outside of the pub on the pavement, is where Mary could have picked up clients as a prostitute. Because of this, the pub was renamed to “Jack the Ripper” between 1976 to 1988 and memorabilia related to the case was displayed. Though with some debate, the name was changed back, as it was preferred that a murderer of women not be commemorated like that.
This location is home to some well-known spirits, such as the ‘Victorian Landlord.’ In the late 90’s, visitors would report feeling uneasy as they laid in bed, and would turn over to spot his ghostly apparition. When they would call out, he would dissapear. Another is that of a ghost baby. A psychic once visited the pub and refused to enter a room on the upper floor as she stated something terrible happened there, involving the death of a 19th-century infant. Years later, upon investigation, baby clothing was found in the room behind the water tank. Eerily, the clothing looked to have been cut with a knife. People also reported being pushed and hearing laughter in the pub.
50 Berkely Square in Mayfair, Central London
This house has been labeled as one of the most haunted houses in London since the 1900s. The legend attached to the home differs but one story that has remained the same states that the attic is haunted by a young woman who committed suicide. She was apparently being abused by her uncle and threw herself from the top-floor window. Her spirit is said to take the form of a white figure and/or a brown mist.
Another story of the house involves a man that lived in the house named Thomas Myers, who lived there from 1859 until the early 1870s. He was rejected by his wife and was said to have locked himself in the home and was gradually driven mad until his death in November of 1874. During, the house fell into despair and it was then that its reputation developed. Skeptics state that because he slept during the day and made noise at night, that this was the reasoning behind the haunting rumors (lights on in the middle of the night and strange rambling). Others say that the stories were simply exaggerated because of the house being neglected. A couple more stories seem to keep the rumors going. In 1872, a man (Lord Lyttleton) spent the night in the attic on a dare, bringing a shotgun. He shot at an apparition and in an attempt to find the apparition in the morning, found nothing. Another is that of a maid who after spending the night in the attic room in 1879, became insane and died at an asylum the following day. It has also been said that two other individuals spent the night, one being found dead as he tripped trying to run from the house.
The home was bought in the late 1930s by the Maggs Brothers and no phenomena regarding any hauntings of the home have been reported since.
Hampton Court Palace in Greater London
Construction of this palace began in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, favorited by King Henry VIII, though fourteen years later, he fell from favor and gave the palace to the King , which he then enlarged and expanded it. This palace is one of the only two to survive (along with St. James Palace) that belonged to King Henry.
In the next century, King Williams III’s rebuilding and expansion work, meant to rival the Palace of Versailles, destroyed a lot of the Tudor palace. His work halted in 1694, leaving the palace with two different architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. While that was an accident, the styles exist in unity with pink bricks and successive low wings. The last monarch to reside in the palace was King George II.
Today, the palace is a major tourist attraction, open to the public, easily accessible by train from Waterloo station in Central London. The structure and the grounds it remains on is taken care of by Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity.
Although the palace doesn’t seem to have a terribly dark history, it is still reportedly haunted by past wives of King Henry VII. His fifth wife haunts the gallery as she is seen floating, dressed in white, giving the gallery the name, the Haunted Gallery. His third wife also haunts the location, often spotted walking the grounds of Clock Court. On the anniversary of her son’s birth, she is also said to walk up the stairs that leads to the Silver Stick Gallery in a white robe, holding a candle.
The Haunted Tower of London
This historic castle is located in the north bank of the River Thames in Central London. It was founded toward the end of 1066, the white tower then built by William the Conqueror in 1078, as it gives the whole castle its name. It was utilized as a prison in 1100 until 1952 and was also used as a grand palace in its early years. The tower is compiled of several buildings set inside two concrete rings of walls and a moat. There were many expansions mainly under the rule of Richard I, Henry III, and Edward 1 in the 12th and 13th centuries. Over the years, it was also used as a treasury, armory, a public record office, a menagerie, and as the home of the Crown Jewels of England.
Being as old and as historic as it is, it’s no surprise to know that this Castle has some ghostly entities haunting it. One being Anne Boleyn, as she was beheaded for treason in 1536 against Henry VIII. She haunts the Church of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower, where she is buried (seperate location), and apparently walks around the White Tower, carrying her head tucked under her arm. In October of 1817, a glowing apparition was claimed to have been seen in the Jewel House by Edmund Lenthal Swifte. The apparition apparently hovered over his wife’s shoulder as she screamed in panic. Other phenomena have been reported, most recently by the night staff of the Tower.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in Covent Garden
This West End theatre is located on Cathrine Street in Covet Garden in London. It is the most recent theatre that stands at the locations as there were three others that stood there before. The first was built at the command of Thomas Killigrew in the early 1660’s and was originally known at Theatre Royal in Bridges Street. A little over a decade later, it caught fire and was then replaced it with a new Theatre in its place, naming it, ‘Theatre Royal in Drury Lane,’ opening in 1674. It lasted for nearly 120 years and was then demolished to make way for a larger theatre that opened in 1794. The third burned down as well in 1809, leading into the fourth and current Theatre that stands today as it opened in 1812, hosting many musicals and entertaining those who visit.
Author Tom Odgen says that the Theatre Royal is one of the world’s most haunted theatres. If any of the many ghosts appear before an actor or a member of production, it is said to signal good luck for them. The most famous ghost is referred to as ‘The Man in Grey,’ who appears dressed as an 18th century nobleman: powdered hair under a tricorne hat, a dressy jacket and coat with boots and a sword. It’s a popular legend that he is the ghost that belongs to the skeletal remains that were found within the wall passage in 1848. Deceased actor Charles Macklin and clown Joseph Grimaldi are also said to haunt this location as Charles appears backstage while Joseph appears guides nervous actors about the stage in an attempt to help. Comedian Stanley Lupino claimed to have the ghost of Dan Leno in his dressing room. Theatre Royal sure does sound like its inhabited by the dead!
If you’ve enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to never miss a post full of history and haunts!
All hyperlinked wiki pages are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.