The George Pub on the Strand in London has a deserved reputation as a haunted pub, says RICK HALE
The George Inn
213 Strand, Temple
London WC2R 1AP
The Strand is an historical thoroughfare that runs through the central London borough of Westminster.
From the 12th to 17th centuries, The Strand, was the home to the upper classes of British society, as well as much of the Nobility.
However, in the 17th century the upper class moved out and coffee shops and taverns moved in.
One of these former coffee houses, turned to a pub, The George, has gained a reputation for being one of the most haunted pubs in central London.
History Of The George
The current black and white timbered building that houses The George is of a relatively recent vintage, dating only to 1930.
However, the basement belongs to a much older building going as far back as the 17th century when the building was a coffee house.
And it’s in the basement of The George where a curious phantom is said to haunt.
Haunting of The George
The great ghost hunter and author, Peter Underwood, mused that staircases seemed to be the most haunted part of a building.
While I agree with him, dark basements and creepy cellars come in as a close second.
Probably because many of these buildings have foundations that belong to much older structures. And the spirits may be tied to these older buildings.
If this theory is correct it might just explain the ghost of The George that has come to be known as, ‘the laughing Cavalier.”
The Foreman’s Tale
In the 1970s, the owner of The George contacted a local contractor to give the old building a much needed face lift.
The interior of the building desperately needed a fresh coat of paint and a few updates to the decor.
When the company arrived, the foreman went about the business of assigning tasks to his employees.
Satisfied that everyone was attending to their work, the foreman walked down to the basement to see what needed to be done down there.
A few moments later, he ran upstairs breathless, with the look of terror deeply etched into his face.
When asked what was wrong, he stated that a man suddenly appeared, stared him down and vanished.
The owner gave the terrified man a glass of brandy and told him, that it was ok. His wife sees him all the time.
Whether or not the foreman found this reassuring is unknown to the rest of us.
The Laughing Cavalier
Before that day, the spirit that has come to be known as, the laughing Cavalier, was only known to a select few people.
But, following the encounter by the foreman, the mysterious spectre has become an Intrinsic part of the trendy pub and restaurant’s charm.
No one has ever been able to ascertain who the spirit is, but he only appears to manifest in the basement. And his presence appears to be completely benign in nature.
Staff who have ventured into the basement have come away with some interesting encounters with the handsome civil war era ghost.
It’s been reported that when he manifests, he starts out as a shimmering light. He then evolves into a moustachioed man in a cavalier’s uniform.
When he fully appears, he first stares at people and lets out a boisterous belly laugh before vanishing.
Whomever this phantom cavalier is, he stays primarily in the basement and has never been seen in the bar or restaurant.
If you’re strolling along the Strand, and you’re looking for a place to have a drink or a meal, don’t overlook the George and its restaurant, Pig and Goose.