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.
Country and County: City of Westminster
In 1696 the antiquarian John Aubrey (12 March 1626 – 7 June 1697) published his Miscellanies which included the following account of an apparition being seen in a house on James Street, Covent Garden.
Argyll House (246 – 250 Regent Street) occupies the site where the Argyll Rooms once stood back before Regent Street was laid out. In 1830 during a concert recital at the Argyll Rooms a young woman saw an apparition which was recounted in the diary of the dandy merchant banker, Thomas Raikes (born 3 October 1777 – died 3 July 1848).
During the Victorian era 50 Berkeley Square was popularly believed to be the most haunted building in London. Now occupied by the famous antiquarian book dealers, Maggs Bros, there is no evidence that haunting like experiences persist but the case of the haunting of 50 Berkeley Square, which has probably developed into a kind of urban legend has become infamous.
The sixty five room Cadogan Hotel is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in London and is reputedly haunted by the actress and lover of King Edward VII, Lillie Langtry (born 13 October 1853 – died 12 February 1929).
The Grade I listed Theatre Royal at Haymarket dates from 1720 and is reputed to be haunted by the playwright and comic actor John Baldwin Buckstone (born 14 September 1802 – died 31 October 1879). In 2009 whilst starring with Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf, Lord Of The Rings) in the play Waiting for Godot, Sir Patrick Stewart reported seeing Buckstones apparition.
Green Park is a Royal park near Buckingham Palace that covers about forty seven acres. Originally the park was an area of swampy land used as a burial ground for the nearby leper hospital of St James. This hospital was closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the land was enclosed by King Henry VIII and then became part of the estate of the Poulteney family.
The Grenadier at 18 Wilton Row dates back to the early eighteenth century. Popular with Royalty and celebrities (King George IV, Madonna, Guy Ritchie and Gwyneth Paltrow) it was described by Guy Lyon Playfair in his Haunted Pub Guide (1987) as being “probably the most famous haunted pub in the world” and it is probably the one with its own sentry box outside.
Dating from 1536, measuring 58 acres, St James’s Park, named after a thirteenth century leper hospital which was dedicated to St James the Less, is the oldest of the Royal Park’s in London and is reputedly haunted by a murdered headless woman in red.
The famous 18th century actress Sarah Siddons (born 5 July 1755) bought 27 Upper Baker Street in 1817 and it was here that she died on 8 June 1831. Because of its connections with Sarah, in 1876 the house became the first building to receive a nationally recognised memorial plaque for a woman.