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Illumini Event 2012 Illumini will take you on a journey of Victorian hauntings, explore the dark side of a city long forgotten. Take torch light tours beneath the haunted streets of the city

 

 

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VIADUCT TAVERN

Tour, for Illumini Event 2012 012

Category: Tour
Location: London
Website: www.fullers.co.uk

Pubs Details

The pub offers a range of fresh sandwiches with roasted meat from nearby Smithfield, and the best gin and tonic in the City - over 10 different gins to choose from!

Opening Hours

Monday 11am - 11pm
Tuesday 11am - 11pm
Wednesday 11am - 11pm
Thursday 11am - 11pm
Friday 11am - 11pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Address: Viaduct , 126 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AA
Tel: 020 7600 1863

History

The Viaduct Tavern is one of London's most haunted pubs it dates from 1875, and is the last example of a late Victorian gin palace left in the City of London. The pub is just across the road from the Old Bailey. A lovely pub with plenty of original features, these include the booth where the landlady dispensed tokens - since staff couldn't be trusted with money - and the tokens were exchanged for gin.

Its interior design was based on a very flamboyant Victorian opera house. The place even retains a bullet hole in a painted backdrop which apparently dates from a party celebrating the end of the First World War. The backdrop itself features paintings of figures inspired by the statues on Holborn Viaduct.

The Viaduct is built on the cells of the Giltspur Street Compter, an old remand prison, demolished in 1855, which took the overflow from Newgate Prison across the road. In the basement you will find the 5 cells where convicts awaited trial still there today. The thing that you notice first is how small each cell is. It's hardly big enough for a dog, so you can only imagine the worth of the prisoners. The holes in the ceiling served as shoots for food from relatives or sympathetic passers-by, since the prisons were privately run and inmates had to pay for their own food and drink.

The size of the cells got me thinking to what truth there was with this, after some research it's said that some archaeologists from The Museum of London sometime ago, disagreed this was the exact site and was not prison cells, but just a racking systems and that the hole was not a “feeding tube” but a coal plate mounted above a coal cellar.

However there is photographic evidence that shows Newgate Prison was across the road from the pub and knowing a lot about subterranean London, it is defiantly possible that the cells would of stretched way below the streets and you would be surprised how many buildings where built on all manor of strange things and have secret doors leading to hidden vaults. The cellars could be from Newgate prison or Giltspur Street Compter or like some believe nothing to do with the prison at all.

Spirits of the Supernatural Kind

However there is restless spirits that haunt the Viaduct Tavern cellars where several members of staff over the years have experienced its unwelcome attentions. Staff didn't like to be down in the cellar at night on their own because sometimes the lights went off and the doors locked themselves. The paranormal activity on the upper floors is said to be attributed to a murdered prostitute.

The present landlord Supannika Bubpathong says several mediums have visited the tavern and on one occasion a member of staff witnessed a slamming door while she was alone. On other occasions strange things have happened. Supannika has worked there for over 5 years and on some occasions has felt a strange feeling in the cellars.

In 1996, a manager was tidying the cellar one Saturday morning, when the door suddenly slammed shut and the lights went out. Feeling his way to the door, he found that no matter how hard he pushed it just would not open. Fortunately, his wife heard his cries for help and came down stairs to investigate. She found that the doors, which would not open from the inside, were unlocked and easily pushed open from the outside.

In May 1999 two electricians, working in one of the pubs upstairs rooms, also attracted the ghost's unwelcome attentions. They had rolled the carpet up and were taking up the floorboards, when one of them felt a hand tap him on the shoulder. Thinking it was his workmate he turned round, but found that he was on the other side of the room. Believing he's imagined it he went back to work and yet again he felt a tap on his shoulder. Standing up, he went over to his friend to ask if he was playing a prank, but the man denied any involvement. As he was about to return to his chores, both men watched as the heavy carpet, that lay rolled up by the window, was lifted into the air and dropped heavily onto the floor.