Hampstead boasts many great haunted pubs, and The Old Bull and Bush is one of the best, says RICK HALE
The Old Bull And Bush
North End Way, Hampstead
London NW3 7HE
“Come, come, come and make eyes at me down at The Old Bull And Bush. Come, come have some port wine with me down at The Old Bull and Bush.”
These lyrics were sung by the wildly popular music hall singer, Florrie Forde about the Old Bull And Bush.
A Grade II listed public house in Hampstead, London, it is a pub known for its cheerful atmosphere, good times and very active ghosts.
And a grisly discovery which some believe may be connected to fiendish 19th century serial killer, Jack the ripper.
History Of The Old Bull And Bush
According to historical records, the earliest known building was a farmhouse built in 1645.
Some time around 1721, the owner of the farm wanted to start his own business and obtained a license to sell ale.
William Hogarth, the painter and social critic, was a regular customer of the pub and had a hand in planning the pub’s garden.
In order to add a little entertainment for his patrons, landlord, Henry Humphries, obtained a license to play music in 1867.
The pub soon became a popular hangout, who fancied Florrie Forde, and her song, “Down at the Old Bull And Bush” – a song that’s played to this day in the pub.
The Haunting Of The Old Bull And Bush
The much loved Hampstead pub underwent several major renovations, the first in 1924 when it was owned by Coope Brewery.
Another in 1987, and lastly in 2006, when it was reopened to the public as a trendy gastropub.
It was following this 2006 renovation when folks began to notice something strange was going on in the pub.
Over the years several staff have reported loud knocks and bangs issuing from the walls and ceiling.
Others have reported hearing the unmistakable sound of footsteps before opening the pub to the public and after closing.
Several have even reported the unnerving feeling that the footsteps appeared to be following them as they go about their daily duties.
The Sinister Victorian
The ghostly figure of a Victorian era man has been witnessed by both staff and patrons lurking about the pub.
Eyewitnesses have even gone so far as saying the spectre has an almost sinister feel to him when he appears and abruptly vanishes.
No one has ever been able to put a name to the ghost. But, some have a theory and it’s connected to a grisly discovery made in the 1980s.
While completing the 1987 renovations, the owners of the pub were pulling down a wall in the cellar and made a disquieting discovery.
They found the skeletal remains of a man in Victorian era clothing behind the wall. What made the skeleton so strange, it was surrounded by surgical tools.
Somehow, someone offered the theory that the remains belonged to notorious serial killer, Jack the ripper and it was his ghost that haunted the pub.
Of course no one can really say for sure who the skeleton was in life. And, although the skeleton was given a proper burial the hauntings continue to this day.
What does The Old Bull and Bush offer?
The Old Bull And Bush, a North London institution, is well known for its intimate setting and hospitality.
The pub has a well stocked bar and well planned menu sure to please anyone who stops in for a drink and bite to eat.
And as with most haunted London pubs, the staff have no problem telling the curious patron of their experiences with the paranormal in their pub.