LONDON'S HAUNTED HOTELS
The Langham Hilton Hotel. Portland Place. W1.
The Thing in Room 333.
The Langham Hotel, forerunner of London’s grand hotels, was built in 1864. To its Victorian splendour came the likes of Mark Twain, Arnold Bennett, Napoleon 111 of France, and the composer Dvorak – who managed to offend the sensibilities of the management when, in an attempt to save money, he requested a double room for himself and his grown up daughter.
As grander hotels were built across London, however, the Langham’s popularity waned, and by the 1950’s it had been pressed into service as administrative offices for the BBC, whose radio studios still stand opposite.
Several rooms on the third floor were kept as accommodation for staff, whose late finishes or early starts necessitated an overnight stay. In 1973, announcer James Alexander Gordon was sleeping over one night in room 333, when he awoke to find a fluorescent ball hovering on the opposite side of the room. As he watched, it began to take on the clearly defined form of an Edwardian gentleman in full evening dress. Summoning up all his courage, the terrified presenter asked who the apparition was, and what it wanted. The question seemed to irritate the phantom, for it began to come towards him, its arms outstretched, its eyes fixed and unblinking.
Unable to take any more Alexander rushed from the room and raced down to the commissionaire who was not in the least bit sympathetic and refused point blank to accompany him back to the room.
So Alexander returned alone, and found his mysterious guest still present, although its appearance seemed less distinct than it had been.
Later, when he told his colleagues at Broadcasting House about his ordeal, others told of encountering the same apparition in that same bedroom
The building has now been completely renovated and once more functions as luxury hotel. But ghostly activity still continues in room 333.
In May 2003, a woman staying in the room suddenly checked out of the hotel without giving any reason for her premature departure. A few days later she sent a letter explaining that her slumbers had been interrupted by the activities of the ghost that kept her awake by repeatedly shaking the bed during the night.
The Georgian House Hotel. St George’s Drive. SW1.
The building that houses the Georgian House Hotel dates back to the mid 19th century and has a timeless feel about it. It is haunted by several ghosts, including that of an unknown man who has been seen in one the basement staff rooms.
Whether or not this is the same ghostly figure that has been seen in the kitchen and one of the top floor bedrooms is unknown.
Suffice it to say he, or they, are harmless enough revenants who are more than content to appear for a few fleeting moments and then be gone about their business.
The ghosts of two children have also been seen flitting about the upper floors. On one occasion a manageress even held a conversation with them and assured them that, since the Georgian House is a friendly and hospitable place they were more than welcome to visit, but she asked only that they confine themselves to the upper floors since their presence on the lower levels might prove disturbing to their real life peers. As yet the ghostly juveniles have honoured her wishes!