The late Georgian-style building at number 50 Berkeley Square looks harmless enough, but was once known as the most haunted house of London. Today it is best known as one of the ancient buildings of the capital that has remained unchanged over time. Although his reputation as a cursed house has faded a little in recent years, these four residential floors have been at the center of chilling horror stories, according to which unfortunate or reckless characters lost their lives. However, even today, visitors are warned to stay away from the top floor, where it is, maybe, dangerous to venture…
Think that, even today, on a wall of the house, there is a police warning that prohibits the use of upper floors!
Berkeley Square was built in the mid 18th Century by architect William Kent. Located in the West End of London, the buildings and sculptures that can be found about the square were designed by such prominent figures as Alexander Munro and Robert Adam. The square has been home to a number of famous people, including Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Robert Clive who secured India and its wealth for the British Crown.
However, the house at number 50, similar to many others in the Mayfair area, became a popular thater for lot of ghost stories. The four storey brick town house has a rather chequered history, a number of deaths have taken place within its walls, and quite a few people are said to have perished due to the terror instilled within them by a nameless horror that claims the building as its home.
The first “real” ghost sightings represents a young woman, seen to be hanging from the windowsill on the uppermost floor. She can be seen screaming, before letting go and disappearing as she falls.
She was young girl named Adeline, who threw herself out of the same window in order to get away from her abusive uncle. The type of abuse varies, but in all respects it was quite cruel. Her ghost was reported as early as 1789, and old newspapers report that “since then more than 50 respectable people have reported seeing Adeline clinging to the windowsill, about to drop to her doom.”
Of course, Adeline’s ghost is not just limited to living the last moments of her life, jumping again and again, but also by moving furniture and making knocks and rapping in the uppermost rooms.
The first resident who stayed in the house for a long time was British Prime Minister George Canning, who lived at 50 Berkeley Square until his death in 1827.
It was then leased by a Miss Curzon, who lived in it up to her death at the ripe old age of 90. After her death, many tenants changed, and many stories were crossed over about different people who for some reason had decided to spend the night in the attic, found all paralyzed or died of fear: a maid went mad and died in an asylum, a nobleman died, according to the coroner, of fear, while another could no longer speak.
In 1885 the property was bought by the Viscount Bearsted, who rented out the house to a man known simply as Mr Myers, and it was with his tenancy that the house’s sinister reputation apparently began.
The story goes that he had rented the house, furnishing it with care, to go and live there with his future bride who, however, abandoned him a few days before wedding.
The heartbroken Myers became a recluse: he moved into a tiny room at the top of the building where, alone with his memories, he lived day after day never seeing a living soul and only ever coming out at night to walk through the rooms by candlelight.
The flickering flame of the candle cast a dull glow from the house’s Windows by night as he drifted from room to room.
In 1873 the local council sued him for failing to pay his rates. He failed to appear in court but the magistrate excused him on account of the fact the house in which he lived was known as “the haunted house.”
It seems that in 1879 a man moved in with his two teenage daughters, the eldest of which immediately complained of a strange musty smell that, she said, was rather like that of the animals cages at the zoo. Later, the elder girl’s fiancé, a Captain Kentfield, was due to visit the house and a maid-servant was asked to prepare his room.
No sooner had she gone upstairs to do so than the family heard terrified screams coming from the room. Rushing to assist, they found her collapsed on the floor, muttering to herself “don’t let it touch me.” They were unable to ascertain exactly what it was, because the poor maid died in hospital following day.
Unperturbed by the fate of the servant girl Captain Kentfield announced that he would spend the night in the room. His fate wasn’t better: just 30 minutes later, terrible screams were heard coming from the room, followed by a gunshot. They rushed to his aid, but found him dead on the floor, his face twisted in terror.
By the end of the 19th century the house had long since been abandoned due to its sinister fame which, unfortunately for them, was not known to two sailors on duty on HMS Penelope. On Christmas Eve of 1887, Edward Blunden and Robert Martin had no money for lodgings, so wandered the streets until they could find an empty building to make camp for the night. They eventually found their way to Berkeley Square, and seeing number 50, decided to spend the night there. They settled for a second floor bedroom and, if soon Martin was asleep, Blunden was restless and frightened. He could hear footsteps in the corridor, and soon the door opened. As Blunden watched, a dark and shapeless form entered the room.
The noise had awoken Martin, who saw a massive tendril strangling Blunden. Fearing for his own safety, Martin took the opportunity to run out the bedroom door, down the stairs, and out the building, where he soon ran into a police constable. Martin told the story and the two men went back to number fifty.
What they found was Blunden, dead on the pavement, he had either jumped or been thrown out of the second floor window, with his body crushed by the fall, even if other stories say he tripped and died of fright as he ran from the building or for a more gory version that Blunden was found dismembered in the basement or impaled on the spiked fence out the front of the property.
The house had made its last victim.
Of course the stories continued from people brave or foolhardy enough to venture into number 50 after dark, but soon eventually the building was occupied again, this time by Maggs Bros – Antiquarian Book Dealers, active until some years ago. During all this time no strange or frightening phenomenon has ever been recorded. Even if the staff have heard strange noises from the upstairs rooms, none have dared to venture, and in fact they are not allowed to, because the police have placed a sign, a warning saying that the upper most rooms are not to be used for anything, not even storage.
Sources for this article are really a lot, included my granma, and If you search information on this place you will find many more stories about the house on number 50 Berkeley Square. The stories posted here are my favourites 🙂
Images from Web.