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Ye Olde Axe, Hackney Road


Managing to cater for multiple tastes by being a combination of a traditional pub, nightclub and a strip joint, Ye Olde Axe at 69 Hackney Road is a Grade II listed, three story, Victorian pub (circa 1850) which has been described as one of the ‘odder venues’ in Shoreditch. However, in 1979, buried bodies were discovered by workmen and it also gained a reputation of being haunted.

According to Guy Lyon Playfair in (1985) The Haunted Pub Guide, ‘In 1979 a team of workmen spent nine weeks renovating Ye Olde Axe, which had been derelict for twenty-five years and had enjoyed a fairly unsavoury reputation before that.’

Whilst the workmen, who spent their nights onsite, were digging foundations for a fire escape they found the skeletal remains of two people including their legs and skulls. The bodies were buried roughly two foot deep along with a pair of rusty scissors.

Playfair goes on to say that following the discovery of the bodies one of the workmen named David Simcoe reported that he and his fellow work mates had been having strange experiences in the pub. ‘I’m a light sleeper,’ he said, ‘and one evening we heard quite a lot of noise and thought one of our mates had come into the room where we were sleeping.’ The next morning, they learned that he had been sound asleep before they had gone to bed. The following night, the men put a plank against their bedroom door. In the morning the plank was down and the door was open. This, said Simcoe, was just one of several strange things that had happened while he had been there. I have a feeling that we can expect more of this kind of thing, in view of this pub’s past history.’


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