Soho – central London’s entertainment district – is full of stories of ghosts and hauntings – here are some of the places you can visit – if you dare!
Soho in central London was once the city’s dark centre of vice, filled with brothels, sex clubs and other criminal activities. Largely cleaned up over the years, the area is still known for its nightclubs, pubs and other entertainment venues. It doesn’t take much to scratch the surface and discover its dark and ghostly past. Here are some of the haunted streets and properties you can visit….
Kingly Court, Beak Street, Soho, W1B
A male ghost, dressed in the style of the 18th century, walks is a circle whistling tunelessly.
224–244 Regent Street, Soho, W1B
This was once the site of The Argyll Rooms, a popular entertainment venue owned by the London Philharmonic Society and used for various concerts, public performances and other exhibitions. The Society decamped elsewhere after a fire in 1830 which destroyed the building.
Though the venue continued to host concerts following reconstruction, it never retained its former glory.
During a show on 26 December 1832, a young lady was taken home by her friends after appearing to have some kind of fit.
The case was recounted in John Ingram’s 1897 book Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain, quoting from the diary of Thomas Raikes, who knew the girl.
After the young lady got home, she found it difficult to talk, until eventually she told her companions that she had been seized by the vision of a naked male corpse, with its face partly covered by a cloth, though she recognised the corpse of a man she knew.
Her friends reassured her that he was okay. The next day, news came through that he in fact had drowned in Southampton after his boat capsized and the body found tangled up in a ‘boat cloak’.
As Raikes himself notes, it bears all the hallmarks of a vision of Second Sight, commonly associated with the Scottish Highlands and Hebridean Islands.
Dean Street, Soho, W1D
The Gargoyle Club operated in Dean Street, Soho, from the 1920s to 1979, during which time it was reputedly haunted by the ghost of Nell Gwynne, who lived in a previous house on the site.
The ghost appeared as a grey shadow with a smell of flowers.
There was also the spooky re-enactment on the roof of a fight between a Captain of the Guards and a posse of men who had been dispatched by Charles II to murder the Captain.
After the closure of the Gargoyle Club, the building was host to a couple of dodgy nightspots and the Comedy Club in which Alexi Sayle first performed.
In another house on Dean Street according to Elliot O’Donnell, residents saw the ghost of a huge black bird and they got used to it.
Denman Street, Soho, W1D
A room in a hotel here is said to be haunted by a suicide who wakens guests with strange noises in the middle of the night.
Brewer Street, Soho, W1F
There is a tale that prior to his demise, Lord Horation Nelson (1758–1801) visited a coffin maker in Brewer Street to pick out his box. Afterwards, his ghost was seen peering through the window of the shop from which the coffin business operated.
1 Golden Square, Soho, W1F
The radio studios in the basement echo to the sound of children’s voices, the legend being that the property is built on a plague pit. The address is the home of Absolute Radio, and other Bauer Media stations, Magic, Kiss and Planet Rock.
John Snow, Broadwick Street, Soho, W1F
This haunted London pub is named after the doctor who in 1854, traced a cholera outbreak that killed 616 people, to a contaminated water pump in Soho.
The John Snow is haunted by a dark presence that lurks in a corner, staring into the distance with red eyes, and a pained face. The pub manager reported often feeling an invisible presence walk about behind him as he counted takings in the pub office.
London Palladium, Argyll Street, Soho, W1F
An infrequently seen ghostly female, wearing a crinoline dress, flits about The Crimson Staircase and associated passages at the rear of The Royal Circle.
Tell us if you’ve seen a ghost or something spooky in Soho London in the comments below!