The Embassy Of Finland, London
The Embassy of Finland at 38 Chesham Place dates from around the 1830s. It was not of course always an Embassy and has over the years been known by various names such as Belgrave House and Herbert House. It is from an early time, possibly when it was a private residence that the reputed haunting of the Embassy has its roots.
Chesham Place was built by Thomas Cubitt during the 1830’s and 1840’s and was named after William Lowndes (of Chesham) (Born 1 November 1652 – Died 20 January 1724) Member of Parliament and Secretary to the Treasury of Great Britain.
The first recorded resident of 38 Chesham Place was Major General James Ahmuty in 1842. Subsequent occupants include William Russell, a relation of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (Born 18 August 1792 – Died 28 May 1878) who served twice as Britain’s Prime Minister and who, for a time lived close by at 37 Chesham Place.
Lady Elizabeth Herbert (nee Ashe à Court-Repington) (Born 21/07/1822 – Died 30/10/1911), widow of Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea (Born 16 September 1810 – Died 2 August 1861) was residing at Herbert House (38 Chesham Place) by 1881 which is where she died thirty years later.
By 1916 it was owned by Major-General Aldred Frederick George Beresford Lumley, 10th Earl of Scarbrough (Born 16 November 1857 – Died 4 March 1945) and leased to Irwin Boyle Laughlin (Born 26, 1871– Died 8, 1941) secretary of the American Embassy in London (1912 – 1917) and Counselor (1916 – 1919).
According the Embassy’s website by 1920 it was known as Belgrave House and home to the family of Gustavus William Hamilton-Russell, 9th Viscount Boyne (Born 11 January 1864 – Died 18 January 1942).
The British Red Cross and St John’s War Organisation used the house during World War II (1939 – 1945) and then the Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship leased 38 Chesham Place until 1975 when it became the Embassy of Finland.
The Embassy website is quite open about the ‘apparent’ haunting, stating ‘The ghost is a little girl who fell from a window on the third floor, which used to be the children’s nursery. She has been seen on the stairs in her nightdress.’