Hauntingly close to home! The ghosts of Shoreditch
As that spooky time of year creeps up on us once again, we’ve delved into the haunting history of our local neighborhood…
One of the best and most iconic aspects of our studio hire spaces are the original architectural features – high, textured exposed beams, woodwork and brickwork – of the Victorian zip and suspender factory that it once was. During the mid-late 19th century, Victorian manufacturing boomed, employing and exposing thousands of workers to numerous dangers and, notoriously, resulted in a lot of death.
Here’s a scary spotlight on the ghosts of Shoreditch…
LIVERPOOL ST STATION
The ‘crazy lady’ ghost
Said to have been an inmate in London’s infamous Bethlehem Royal Hospital, an institution for the ‘mentally unwell’, a female figure has been acknowledge and more significantly heard ‘screaming crazily’ along the tunnels of Tube lines in Liverpool Street Station.
Bedlam, as the hospital was known colloquially, was a cruel place, mistreating and neglecting its patients in ways that would be totally unacceptable in today’s world. It was even the case that members of the public could visit and would pay money to observe the patients’ disturbed behaviors, or perform obscene acts on each other.
According to Haunted London Underground, a book by David Brandon and Alan Brookes, the woman whose spirit is believed to haunt Liverpool Street Station was treated at Bedlam hospital during the 1780s. It’s said that she used to clutch a single small coin, and would create uproar if anyone attempted to take it off her. Yet, when she died, the coin was stolen from her, and she was buried without it.
Her wandering through the tunnels of the station is said to be her desperately still looking to retrieve her coin…
The ‘man in overalls’
Over the years, maintenance workers at Liverpool Street Station have complained about the ghost of a man wearing overalls appearing on the eastbound central Tube line platform outside of working hours. He’s said to appear as though waiting for a train that never arrives…
Even without a sighting, pause a thought for the fact that Liverpool Street Station also houses beneath its foundation an ancient burial site for plague victims – in 2015 archaeologists discovered piles of human bones, and the extent of suffering and terror of such circumstances of death makes Liverpool Street widely understood as one of London’s most haunted stations.
THE TEN BELLS, SPITALFIELDS
Known previously as ‘The Jack the Ripper’, this pub was the site at which, in 1888, Annie Chapman was horrifically murdered and mutilated by London’s most notorious serial killer – Jack the Ripper. In 1996, it was claimed by the pub’s then-landlord that Annie’s ghost had returned and ever-since has been haunting the establishment.
Numerous staff testimonies of ‘ghostly activity’ have been reported over the years, such as a pint glass or a packet of crisps moving across a table, notably on the anniversary of her death. Others include sightings of an elderly man in Victorian clothing walking the halls.
And, just a little further afield…
BLEEDING HEART YARD
Lady Elizabeth Hatton, the second wife of Sir William Hatton (nephew and heir of Sir Christopher Hatton, the Lord Chancellor of England during the reign of Elizabeth I), was a renowned socialite, famed for her beauty. In 1626, she was murdered and found to have been grotesquely violated in the process.
Given her status, she was the guest of honor at many gatherings and elite balls – on the night of her death, she had been attending such an event at Hatton House in the company of the Bishop of Ely.
The story goes that another guest appeared, approaching Lady Elizabeth directly and commanding her to dance with him. This “Senor Gondomar”, the Spanish Ambassador, danced a single dance with Lady Hatton in front of the entire party. They very quickly disappeared, and it was only until hours later when neither had returned, that the woman’s body was found strewn behind the stables of Hatton House.
On discovering her remains, it was described as her body being “torn limb from limb” and with her heart “still pumping blood onto the cobblestones”.
The Bleeding Heart Tavern (EC1N 8SJ) is what exists today, and there have been mentions of the ghost of a woman dancing round and round across the yard…
Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, London’s deep dark histories are as fascinating as there are frightful…
Happy Halloween from us all at the studio!