Are you one of the lucky few with a ticket for the London Olympics? Richard Holland highlights some of the spookier sites in the stadium’s neighbourhood.
Seeing as how Stratford in East London has become the focus of the world’s eyes thanks to the London Olympics, I thought it might be timely to look at the haunted sites within a javelin’s throw of the Olympics village.
Back in the 1970s a truly spooky series of incidents began to unnerve students of what was then the West Ham precinct of the North East London Polytechnic (it’s now the Stratford Campus of the University of East London). Disturbing noises were heard coming from the laboratories used by chemistry students. They appeared to be the sounds of someone choking. Often they were followed by a bloodcurdling scream.
Several technicians and students heard the phenomena and others reported finding equipment moved about overnight. They also experienced eerie drops in temperature. The haunting was never explained, although one member of staff discovered that the building is on the site of a gibbet where criminals were hung in chains centuries ago.
A much less alarming ghost haunts the Theatre Royal in Stratford East. The apparition has been identified as the builder of this elegant Victorian theatre – one of London’s many haunted theatres – one Freddy Fredericks. His ghost is described as ‘a small tubby fellow dressed in brown’. It considered a friendly presence and is it’s claimed Freddy will appear at least once a night to check that all is well with the institution he created in 1880.
Finally, the best known ghost of Stratford is probably that of a contemporary of Freddy’s, a Victorian fireman. In life he was Geoffrey Netherwood and he has been seen at the modern fire station in Romford Road, dressed in the full fire-fighting regalia of his day, including big shiny helmet.
There seems to be no reason for Geoffrey’s persistence on earth other than a sense of loyalty and love for his profession. Indeed his apparition was first seen making regular appearances at his own station on the High Road at nearby Ilford. He never served at the Stratford station. But when his brigade moved to Romford Road, this loyal old soul followed them there.
I discovered these locations while researching my iPhone application Ghost Finder London – two of them, anyway, were new to me. The app accurately plots more than 300 haunted sites throughout Central and Greater London, including these three in Stratford. Information on the ghosts haunting each location can then be accessed in a database written by me. The app will be available for Android in the next few weeks but if you have an iPhone and would be interested in learning more about Ghost Finder London please visit: http://is.gd/sKQ8TJ