The Connaught Tavern
Now known as The Fox@Connaught (since 2003), this pub dates from 1881 and is a Grade II listed building. The dockside Connaught Tavern originally opened to cater for passengers on the craft berthing at the Victoria Docks, however, as the number of these passengers reduced the pub found itself catering more for the dock’s labourers and was a congregation point for those waiting to be picked to work.
Although I am unaware of any haunting like phenomena experienced in at The Connaught Tavern in the last half century, in the 1930’s an apparition was seen at The Connaught Tavern by a barman named Mr Helms. There was a room on the second floor where the aunt of a previous landlord had committed suicide. The room had apparently lay empty and no-one would enter it, including the pubs two Alsatians. Jack Hallam author of ‘The Haunted Inns of England’ (1972) spoke to Helms who visited the room with other members of the bar staff. As Helms was leaving the room he saw an apparition of a woman near the top of the stairs. She was described as being rather aged and having a savage look. Helms and the bar staff apparently fled downstairs.
If the suicide took place and the ghost is actually an aunt of the landlord of The Connaught Tavern, then she could be related to one of the below.
1886 – Henry John Morgan (Landlord)
1896 – Jonathan Batsford (Landlord)
1901 – Mary Ann Batsford nee Davis (Pub Manageress), Eliza Davis (Assistant Manageress), James Davis (Barman), Frederick Ledingham (Barman), Albert Sherington (Barman), Harry Featherstone (Barman), Lavinia Grainger (Housemaid), Lily Anderson (Kitchenmaid), William Parrish (Window Boy)
1902 – 1917 Frederick J Ledingham (ex barman) is Landlord. In 1911 his household included, Winifred Maud Ledingham (Daughter), Sybil Grace Ledingham (Daughter), Sydney Biggs (Barman), Stanley William Geering (Barman), Arthur Frederick Elbourn (Potman), Ernest Philip King (Barman), Constance Flora Vourne (Kitchen Maid), Rachel Holmes (Cook), Caroline Louise Waller (Housemaid)
1925 – 1934 – Sidney Heath Barnes (Landlord)
The Iron Lung
Standing outside The Connaught Tavern could be found the Grade II listed (1983) CS McDowell cast iron Victorian pissoir (a public urinal, usually enclosed by a wall or screen) known locally as the Iron Lung but officially called the Rotunda. This was the last circular public urinal in London and Newham Council sold it to London Docklands Development Corporation during the 1990’s when it was removed for refurbishment. Some sources say the ton weight pissoir it is still in storage whilst others suggest it may be lost.