Local Haunts – Islington’s Top 5 Spookiest Venues
All Hallows’ Eve might be done and dusted, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still haunting treats to be found throughout the London Borough of Islington, as St John Street News deputy editor Valerio Esposito reports…
At this time of the year those of us who want to live an authentic Halloween experience normally consider taking a trip to a distant, suitably scary location.
Before you book that ticket, however, just be aware that Islington has a very interesting story when it comes to ghosts, malevolent spirits and the rest of the underworld.
Whilst by day venues like Farringdon Station or The Old Queen’s Head might seem innocuous enough, by night these iconic locations are believed to play host to supernatural entities galore.
Believe it or not but we have a feeling that, after reading this article, walking through the streets of your borough won’t feel quite the same.
Here’s a list of the most haunted places is in Islington; if you’re not convinced by our claims, then simply take a walk around the corner and see for yourself…
The Old Queen’s Head
44 Essex Road, Angel
The Old Queens Head (pictured right) is a traditional pub located in Islington. The venue, which used to be a Public House until the 1830s, is well known for its live music, fine beer and a few rowdy ghosts.
Dating back to the early 19th century, this three-storey building is said to be haunted by two paranormal entities, a woman and a young girl, both of whom occasionally make the pub’s clients aware of their presence with spooky footsteps and slammed doors.
The ghost of the little girl, in particular, seems to appear more frequently: in the past, she has sought more ‘direct’ contact with various customers, with reports emerging of unlucky souls being chased by her as they attempted to climb the establishment’s stairwells.
39 Cowcross Street, Farringdon
Based at the heart of the City of London, Farrington Station supposedly plays host to the ghost of Anne Naylor, a young orphan killed in the 18th century by her employer. Sources say that Anne, aged 13, was employed in a local workhouse from which she tried to escape several times.
The last time she was caught, however, she was tortured and then murdered by the owner of the workhouse, who discarded her remains not far from Farringdon.
The spirit of the young girl has been hunting the underground station since then, with some visitors reported to have heard horrific screams resonating through its corridors in recent years. For this reason, the phantom has been named ‘’The Screaming Spectre of Farringdon’’.
Charterhouse Square, Barbican
A well-known area situated between Charterhouse Street and Clerkenwell Road, Charterhouse Square (pictured left) is apparently haunted by the spirit of a dark monk, one who was thought to have resided in the Carthusian monastery built there in the 14th century.
However, its most unsettling supernatural inhabitant by far comes in the form of a nobleman, identified by some purported onlookers as Thomas Howard, fourth Duke of Norfolk. Taking the plight of Nearly Headless Nick in the Harry Potter series one step further, rumour has it that Howard is sometimes seen wandering at night with his head tucked under his arm.
A recent discovery revealed that the square is built atop a plague pit, a site dating back as far as the 14th century when it served as the largest mass grave for victims of the Black Death. As many as 50,000 people are thought to potentially have been buried under the square, some of which were believed to be alive at the time of the burial.
Other famous plague pits can be found beneath Vincent Square and Christchurch Gardens, in Westminster.
The House of Dr. Crippen
Hilldrop Crescent, Holloway
Inexplicable noises and sinister sightings have been reported by the residents of Margaret Bondfield House, a block of ten flats built where the home of the infamous murderer Hawley Harvey Crippen once stood.
Known to most as Dr. Crippen, he was one of the most notorious murderers of the early 19th century, with perhaps his most heinous crime being his murder, dismemberment and burial of his wife in the cellar below his house. Crippen was subsequently tracked by the police after fleeing to Canada with his mistress, found guilty and hanged at Pentonville Prison.
In the 1950s, Crippen’s house was demolished to pave way for the flats that stand in its place today. Since then, residents have witnessed several paranormal episodes such as voices, noises and sightings of a man in Edwardian clothes, believed by his witnesses to be none other than the long-deceased physician’s vengeful spirit…
The Islington Metal Works
Torrens Street, Angel
The Islington Metal Works (pictured right) is one of the oldest gothic nightclubs in Islington, located at the rear of Angel Station.
Between its original erection as a coaching house in the early 19th century, its transformation into a metal works in the 1920s and its recent conversion into a nightclub and wedding venue, the building boasts a long history as well as some unearthly residents to boot.
Both staff members and clients of the club have reported seeing the phantoms of a couple, a man and a woman, dressed in Victorian clothes. Given the frequency of these apparitions, the owners of the club hosted a public ghost-hunt last year with real-life ghost-busters hoping to see or hear these spirits.
Since then, the employees of the nightclub continually swear to have witnessed several paranormal incidents. As a result, many visitors are now attracted by the sinister reputation of the place and visit the Metal Works to experience its haunting sights for themselves.
Have you encountered any paranormal activity in Islington or its neighboring areas? We can’t confess to hold all of the answers to supernatural sightings in the borough, but be sure to let us know in the in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter…