50 Berkeley Square
Template:Use British English Template:Use dmy dates 50 Berkeley Square is a reportedly haunted townhouse on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, in Central London. In the 1900s it became known as "The Most Haunted House in London";<ref name="Jones">Richard Jones, Walking Haunted London", New Holland Publishers Ltd; 4th edition (28 September 2007), p.69</ref> mostly due to Peter Underwood's description of the house in the book Haunted London.<ref name="DaleSloan-Hendershott2004">Template:Cite book</ref>
History and occupants
The four-storey brick town house was constructed in the late eighteenth century.<ref name="Floyd2002">Template:Cite book</ref> From 1770 to 1827 it was the home of British Prime Minister George Canning, commemorated by a plaque on the house today. The house was then bought by the Viscount Bearsted, who rented the property to one Mr Myers.<ref name="BP">Template:Cite news</ref> It was later bought by BP.<ref name="BP"/>
Since 1937 the building has been occupied by Maggs Bros, a firm of antiquarian book dealers.<ref name="Jones"/> In 1998 the building was thought to be the oldest unaltered building in London.<ref name="conclusion">Template:Cite news</ref>
Legend varies, but mostly states that the attic room of the house is haunted by a spirit of a young woman who committed suicide there.<ref name="haunted">Template:Cite news</ref> She purportedly threw herself from the top floor windows after being abused by her uncle;<ref name="book1"/> and is said to be capable of frightening people to death. The spirit is said to take the form of a brown mist; though sometimes it is reported as a white figure.<ref name="Lyttleton"/> One, rarer, version of the tale is that a young man was locked in the attic room, fed only through a hole in the door, until he eventually went mad and died.
In the Victorian era at least two deaths were said to have occurred after people spent the night in the room. However, the first ghostly happenings were reported by George Canning, who claimed to have heard strange noises and have experienced psychic phenomena whilst living there.<ref name="haunted"/>
After George Canning's residency in 1885, the house was bought by a Mr. Myers, who had recently been jilted by his fiancee.<ref name="haunted"/> It was said that he would lock himself in the attic room and slowly went mad over the rest of his life.<ref name="book1">Template:Cite book</ref> During his stay at the house, it fell into gross disrepair and it is during this time that its reputation began to build.<ref name="haunted"/><ref name="book1"/>
As a bet, in 1872, Lord Lyttleton stayed a night in the building's attic.<ref name="Lyttleton"/> He brought his shotgun with him, and during the night fired at an apparition which had appeared. In the morning, he attempted to find what he had shot at, but could only find shotgun cartridges.<ref name="Lyttleton">Template:Cite news</ref> The next year the local council brought a summons to the house's owners for failure to pay taxes, but due to the house's reputation as haunted they were let off.<ref name="Ludgate2007">Template:Cite book</ref>
In 1879, Mayfair reported that a maid who had stayed in the attic room had been found mad.<ref name="book1"/> It was later reported that she died in an asylum the day after.<ref name="haunted"/> On the day she was found, a nobleman purportedly took up the challenge to spend a night in the room, and his was the first death recorded in the house. The coroner pronounced him dead of fright.<ref name="haunted"/>
It is said that after one nobleman had spent the night in the attic room, he was so paralysed with fear that he couldn't speak.
In 1887, sailors from HMS Penelope stayed a night in the house.<ref name="haunted"/> By morning one was found dead, having tripped as he ran from the house.<ref name="haunted"/> The other reported having seen the ghost of Mr. Myers, coming at them aggressively.<ref name="haunted"/>
No phenomena have been reported since the house was bought by the Maggs Brothers in the mid-1930s<ref name="haunted"/> and though many contemporary media outlets reported happenings at the house, more recent investigators claim nothing untoward has ever taken place there. They remark that Lord Lytton's story The Haunted and the Haunters – bears a remarkable resemblance to the supposed hauntings at 50 Berkeley Square.<ref name="Rennison2007">Template:Cite book</ref>
- Charles George Harper, Haunted houses: tales of the supernatural, with some account of hereditary, London, Chapman & Hall, ltd., 1907.
- 50 Berkeley Square Haunted House
- WalksOfLondon.co.uk – 50 Berkeley Square, The Most Haunted House In London