Hoop and Toy Pub in Kensington, London, is known for its hauntings

Ghostly clergy roam Kensington’s Hoop and Toy pub looking for a way out, says RICK HALE

The Hoop And Toy
34 Thurloe Place, London
SW7 2HQ

Kensington, the Royal Borough, an area in inner London integral to the day to day operations of the United Kingdom.

Among its grand Victorian buildings and foreign embassies, you will find the Natural History and Science museums along with Kensington Palace.

If you need a break from exploring these culturally significant places you may want to stop in at The Hoop And Toy on Thurloe PL.

Kensington’s oldest pub where the ghosts of dead priests desperately seek a way out.

History Of The Hoop And Toy

The public house that would one day be called the Hoop And Toy, can trace its history back almost 500 years.

In 1760, the pub received its first license to serve ales and was originally called The Hoop and Grapes.

When London experienced its first congestion charge in 1796, the owner decided it would be in his best interest to open another public house.

The owner built The Bunch Of Grapes one mile down the road in Knightsbridge and renamed the original pub The Hoop and Toy.

A More Recent Vintage

The current building that houses The Hoop And Toy is of a more recent vintage.

Following the horrors of World War II, the pub had to be rebuilt after sustaining significant damage from Nazi bombing raids.

During its long and illustrious history, the pub has played host to the rich and famous including several kings.

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The pub was even featured in the 1965 Roman Polanski film “Repulsion.”

But, what haunts this pub are the long dead spectres brought on by a terrible construction error.

The Haunting Of The Hoop And Toy

A long held belief in psychical research is that disturbing the grave of the dead can result in a haunting.

And according to local legend, this could explain why The Hoop And Toy is one of the most haunted pubs in the city of London.

An Accidental Discovery

When the nearby tube station was being constructed, workers broke through the wall in the basement of the Hoop And Toy and made a grisly discovery.

It would seem the basement of the pub was used by local churches to bound and entomb the bodies of their priests who had died.

And it wasn’t just the graves that were destroyed. The passageway the priests used to gain access to the tomb was hopelessly caved in.

Since there was nothing the workers could do, they continued their work forgetting about the graves they inadvertently destroyed. However, the priests did not forget so easily.

The Priests

Since that unfortunate day when their graves were disturbed, the ghostly image of five priests have been witnessed lurking about the pub.

It’s not uncommon for both staff and patrons to report encountering these long dead men of God.

The phantom priests have been seen sitting at a table or unexpectedly appearing in front of stunned eyewitnesses. Only to vanish as quickly as they appeared.

The Stairs

Although the ghostly priests appear to have the run of the pub, it’s on the stairs where they are commonly experienced.

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It’s believed that when the tombs and passages were destroyed the souls of the priests had no way of making it back to their church.

They use the stairs as an alternative route to their former places of ministry.

The priests have been seen walking up and down the stairs, fading away when they reach the second floor.

Kensington’s Hoop And Toy on Thurloe Place has become a popular place for tourists to grab a drink and bite to eat while exploring the nearby museums.

And it’s a great place to catch a football match with friends and family.

If you’ve been to The Hoop And Toy, and had an experience with the ghostly priests, we invite you to tell us about it in the comment section.

Rick Hale
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