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Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana of London's WC2 District

Samuel Pepys

Location: WC2 - 12 Buckingham Street, Strand
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1953
Further Comments: Number twelve Buckingham Street was the home of Pepys, and his blurred, smiling phantom has been reported near the staircase of the building.

Dashing Woman

Location: WC2 - 14 Buckingham Street, Strand
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Number Fourteen is home to a female ghost, described as 'pretty', who is said to dash into the house as if late for an appointment.

William Terriss

Location: WC2 - Adelphi Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Although William Terriss was murdered in 1897, several thespians have since heard or seen William walking about the building or playing around with lights and props. Other people name the ghost as that of Edmund Kean, another famous actor of yester-year.

Sir Charles Wyndham

Location: WC2 - Albery Theatre, St Martin's Lane
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Sir Charles built the Albery, and his grey haired shade now walks between its walls, normally lurking near the dressing rooms.


Location: WC2 - Aldine House, Maiden Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970s
Further Comments: The owners of the building reported hearing strange banging's and scrapings from the floor above them - the sounds were attributed to the ghost of a man who had committed suicide there a few years previous.

Displaced Actress

Location: WC2 - Aldwych Underground Station (no longer operational)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Built where the Royal Strand Theatre once stood, it is thought the female ghost seen standing on the tracks migrated from the original building to the station shortly after it became operational. She is normally reported by cleaning staff working the night shift.

Climbing Footsteps

Location: WC2 - Bell Yard
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: Mentioned in Dickens's Bleak House, this building is reputedly haunted by phantom footsteps that move around on the staircase heading towards the legal chambers.


Location: WC2 - Bow Street Magistrates' Court (no longer operating as a court)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970s onwards?
Further Comments: This building was said to be haunted by a woman who would suddenly vanish when seen.

The Man in a Tricorn Hat

Location: WC2 - British Optical Association Museum, Craven Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 13 March 2006
Further Comments: While engaging in redecoration of the building, one of the decorators encountered a crouching figure of an old man. Another ghostly figure was spotted a couple of days later, this time of a middle aged man wearing a dark blue coat with a tricorn hat, who asked the witness ‘Where's Mary? I can't find Mary.'


Location: WC2 - Cheshire Cheese public house, Little Essex Street
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The polt at work in this pub is reputed to move the fruit machine.

Human Foot

Location: WC2 - Christ's Hospital (no longer standing)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Pre-1902
Further Comments: A human footprint was once visible in the stonework of this hospital. It was said to have been created when a ghostly beadle's wife stamped her foot in response to a disrespectful human.

Tall, Dark Stranger

Location: WC2 - Cleopatra's Needle, Embankment
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: A tall, dark, male figure leaps over the edge of the embankment wall here, but the sound of him hitting the water is never heard. The man is thought to have committed suicide, and one of several entities found along the Thames who took their own lives. There are also reports of laughing coming from the area, the source of which cannot be discovered.

Trench Trooper

Location: WC2 - Coliseum, St Martin's Lane
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: 03 October 1918
Further Comments: A small group of friends out for an evening's entertainment observed a man they knew walking down an aisle of the theatre, but he quickly disappeared. They later discovered that he had been killed in trench warfare around the time they saw him. He has been seen in the same area periodically since.


Location: WC2 - Courtts Bank
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 25 December (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Once a Mecca for toy sellers and buyers, the sounds of joyous children can be heard briefly once a year. Another entity, claiming to be an Elizabethan nobleman, was exorcised during the early 1990s - he was thought to be either the Earl of Essex (executed in 1601) or Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

Legless Woman

Location: WC2 - Covent Garden Piazza
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: 31 December 1989
Further Comments: A photograph taken by Mr Webb of his young daughter shows a woman dressed in black floating legless in the background. While it is possible that the woman's legs are concealed behind a post, the angle at which she leans does create doubt that the lady is corporeal.

William Terriss

Location: WC2 - Covent Garden Station, Piccadilly Line
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Around midnight, winter months (reoccurring). Last seen 1972?
Further Comments: An actor, Mr Terriss was stabbed to death in December 1897 at a nearby theatre. His ghost, tall in stature, has been seen dressed in a grey suit with white gloves, standing on the platform late at night.

Man in Grey

Location: WC2 - Drury Lane Theatre Royal
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Prior to a long running show
Further Comments: Seeing this ghost, dressed in a long grey coat with a Tricorn hat, is considered a good omen; if it appears either in the morning or afternoon during rehearsals, the performance will go on to be a great success. King Charles II is also supposed to haunt the building (he was a great theatre lover), as does the shade of Joe Grimaldi who helps anyone struggling with their lines. Finally, the backstage corridors are home to the wraith of Charles Macklin, a murderer who was never found guilty, and now walks the scene of his crime.

Violet Melnotte

Location: WC2 - Duke of York's Theatre, St Martin's Lane
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1935 onwards,
Further Comments: The builder of the theatre, Violet was known to watch the performances from her own personal box. After her death in 1935, a presence could be heard from within her seating area, and her phantom spotted in the green room in 1967.

Anne Boleyn

Location: WC2 - Durham House (no longer standing) Durham House Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This building held Anne during her last days, and while the house no longer stands, its basement remains, and it is here the ghost still resides.

Oppressive Feeling

Location: WC2 - Embankment Station - Page's Walk
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000
Further Comments: Staff who walk along the long dark tunnel known as Page's Walk complain of cold winds, doors which open and slam shut, and an oppressive feeling.

Unlucky Place to Drink

Location: WC2 - Fleece Inn Tavern (demolished 1820, thought to have stood on Catherine Street), Covent Garden
Type: Other
Date / Time: Pre-1820
Further Comments: After a string of murders on the property, the site gained a reputation of being unlucky until it was demolished.

Billie Carleton

Location: WC2 - Former BBC HQ, Savoy Hill
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Carleton died in the former home of the BBC just after their 1918 Victory broadcast, and even now the presence is said to remain.

Grey Woman

Location: WC2 - Fortune Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1990s onwards
Further Comments: Home to the stage play The Woman in Black, the theatre is ironically also haunted by a grey lady who was spotted in a lower box. Two shadowy figures have also been observed standing to the right of the stage.

Nell Gwynne

Location: WC2 - Gargoyle Club, 69 Dean Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Another haunting blamed on Nell Gwynne, this building is said to have been her home. The ghost is said to resemble a grey shadow, accompanied by an overpowering smell of flowers. A duel is also thought to be re-enacted on the roof, between the Captain of the Guards and a group of men sent by King Charles II to kill him.

Arthur Bourchier

Location: WC2 - Garrick Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Known for his dislike of critics, Bourchier now haunts the rear of the theatre, often appearing just after a performance, or making his presence known by tapping people on their backs.

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