Marylebone in the Borough of Westminster is one of London’s most upmarket and desirable neighbourhoods. It is also one of its most haunted. Check out these tales of the spooky and the macabre from the streets that gave us the world of Sherlock Holmes…
Volunteer Pub, Baker Street, Marylebone, NW1
The pub is haunted by what is believed to be the ghost of Rupert Neville, whose family owned the mansion that originally stood on the spot, and the cellars of which are incorporated into the fabric of the pub.
The Neville family perished in its entirety when their mansion burned down in 1654, and Rupert might just be one of the unfortunate victims. The ghost has been a regular since he made his appearance in 1969.
He was rather memorably seen for the first time by the licensee in the cellars, when the door to an unused alcove swung open, and out strolled the ghost, wearing, as described in Andrew Green’s Our Haunted Kingdom, “a surcoat, breeches and stockings” dating from the 17th century.
Green notes that due to the age of the pub, which dates from 1794, it was always thought to be haunted and strange things, such as lights turning themselves on and off the and the sound of disembodied footsteps, occurred following remodelling in 1963.
Perhaps most crucially for thirsty punters, the ghost seemingly turned off the power once and deprived the serving of drink!
Capland Street, Marylebone, NW8
The street rebounds with the crying of three children said to have been killed by their demented father, who then committed suicide.
Crocker’s Folly, Aberdeen Place, Marylebone, NW8
A haunted story of the shaggy dog variety: the pub is named after the first landlord, Frank Croker, who opened it in the hope of making a mint from the people passing through when the new terminus of the Great Central Railway opened.
Unfortunately for Frank, the terminus, Marylebone Station, was over a mile away, and his pub failed to attract the business he hoped for. In despair, Frank jumped from a window on the top floor.
In reality, Frank Croker died in 1904, aged 41, of entirely natural causes! The pub was only named after him in the 1980s, which was when the ghost story began the rounds. The pub, which opened in 1898, was originally called The Crown.
228 Baker Street, Marylebone, NW1
Where 27 Upper Baker Street, the retirement home of famed actress Sarah Siddons, stood until it was demolished in 1904. Siddons was a member of the Welsh theatrical family, the Kembles, and was famous for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth. She retired from acting in 1817, purchasing the house at 27 Upper Baker Street at the time, and passed away there aged 75 in 1831.
Although the house Siddons knew was demolished, it, like several other ghosts, didn’t prevent her from haunting the new house constructed on the same site, and her wraith has been seen floating through the walls of the first floor. Other places her ghost is said to have frequented include the Bristol Old Vic Theatre and the now demolished Sarah Siddons Secondary School.
Baker Street, Marylebone, NW1
In the 1900s, two ladies lost their dachshund, and for a time after, the dog’s apparition was spotted several times in Baker Street.
Baker Street to St John’s Wood Underground Tunnel
Sometime in the early 21st century, a trackwalker took a break from his patrol down the tunnel and sat down. He then heard the sound of footsteps munching their way along the track ballast, before going by him and stopping ten metres down the tunnel. When he finished his work, a workmate commented that the footsteps had been heard before and were from a worker who had died in the vicinity.
London Marylebone Station, Melcombe Place, NW1
A maintainance worker attempted to get some sleep in the switch room of platform one in the early hours one morning in 2000. Instead, he met the floating figure of a female spook in lace with a blurry face. A cleaner met him as he beat a retreat, and commented on his state by asking if he had just encountered the ghostly woman.
Marylebone Station now sits on top of Harewood Square, where in May 1831, a couple in no. 33 watched a pair of ghostly ‘candle flames’ floating over them whilst in bed. They became liquid, pouring onto the bed and vanishing when an attempt was made to grab them.
Wigmore Street, Marylebone, W1U
In the 1910s, a flat was haunted by the apparition of a man standing still near the stairs, whilst a blue light was seen in various rooms.
Brendon Street, Marylebone, W1H
In 2002, a private residence in the street was the location of poltergeist activity, including an outside door that opened of its own accord, power and gas outage and a bass like voice that could be heard speaking in the kitchen.
The Langham Hotel, Portland Place, Marylebone, W1B
Built in 1865, this was the first purpose built luxury hotel in London, boasting almost 500 rooms.
The hotel is haunted by what is thought to be the ghost of a German noble who jumped from an upper storey just prior to the outbreak of World War One. His apparition has been seen on several occasions floating about, passing through closed doors and causing sudden drops in temperatures. About five ghosts in total haunt the hotel. During the 1970s, the BBC owned the hotel.
One newsreader awoke one night to find a ball of light floating in his room, and watched as it took on a human shape dressed in extravagant Victorian clothes, floating two feet above the ground with the lower part of the legs missing.
When the newsreader asked what the ghost wanted, it turned towards him with desperate eyes, at which the news man fled to his co-workers room. When accompanied back to the room, the newsreader and his colleague found the slightly faded ghost still there.
About 40 years later, it hit the news that the England cricket team had issues staying in the hotel due to paranormal activity, that freaked them out.
The upper floors of the hotel are haunted by a smartly dressed male ghost holding a tray, thought to be either a butler or newsreader from the early days of radio, when presenters had to where suits when going on air.
Gloucester Place, Portman Square, Marylebone, W1
At the end of the 1800s, into the early 1900s, a house in this area had a clock that was something of a death portent, chiming just before a member of the family died.
The former Mason Arms, Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone, W1H
Now closed down, this pub was said to be one of the final stopping places were condemned prisoners could have their last drink before being sent off to meet their maker at the Tyburn Tree. Prisoners were held in the cellars, and their ghosts continued to haunt the pub.
James Street, Marylebone, W1U
The crisis apparition of Mr Mohun appeared to a lady friend at his moment of death in 1647, when he was attacked enroute to a duel in the countryside. His ghost was seen walking into the woman’s room through a locked door, through which, it also exited.
Madame Tussaud’s, Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1
The Chamber of Horrors, full of notorious murderers and historical malignants, is supposeldy haunted by some of the personages represented by the wax models. There is also a rather fanciful tale that Adolf Hitler’s wax model had begun to grow…