Bandits, heiresses, and murder victims: Finding Redbridge's most iconic ghosts
- Credit: Steve Poston
With a claimed ghost sighting at Eastbury Manor House in Barking, the spectre of east London’s undead is looming large.
Over in Redbridge, there’s no shortage of supernatural goings-on, from a murdered 13-year-old reportedly haunting the halls of a stately home to a legendary bandit prowling the grounds of an old church.
We have compiled a list of the best places in the borough for ghost-spotting.
The Cauliflower pub
This High Road, Ilford pub has long had a reputation for being haunted, having been included in the ‘Haunted Pub Guide’ in the 1980s.
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No one knows when the pub was built, but its cellar has long been the site of supernatural happenings.
Taps being mysteriously turned on and off, holes appearing in beer lines and gas cylinders being moved have all led landlords and bar staff to speculate about a haunting, and the pub was included in the 1985 Haunted Pub Guide.
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A spiritualist medium called Florence Thompson supposedly made contact with the ghost – a girl named Kathy, a gang member who had been hiding out from the authorities when she and her comrades were killed in a sluice.
Florence speculated that by turning off taps, Kathy was trying to save her friends.
The psychic’s exorcism supposedly brought the haunting to an end, but the pub closed after a fire in July 2018.
In 2014, the Recorder joined P.I.G.S. (the Paranormal Intelligence Gathering Service) for a night time visit to the country house in Valentines Park.
The P.I.G.S group determined that there were four ghosts in the mansion: a boy, two girls, and a nefarious adult man.
One staff member said she could feel someone pulling at her hair and some participants claimed to see a mist around the door.
The Recorder’s photographer said she felt a hand touching her face and playing with her hair before a pressure bore down on her chest, as if someone was pinning her down.
An automatic writing session produced the harrowing story of a 13-year-old girl, killed by the head of servants for becoming pregnant with his child.
The house, which was built in 1698 for Lady Tillotson, the widow of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has over the years served variously as a home for wartime refugees, a hospital, a public health centre and a council housing department.
Little remains of Wanstead Mansion in Wanstead Park, the grotto serving as one of the few reminders of the stately home.
The house was demolished and sold off as component pieces after William Wellesley-Pole ran up large debts.
Catherine Tylney-Long, William’s wife and the original homeowner, died suddenly in 1825 of an intestinal illness, having been abandoned by her philandering husband.
Supposedly her ghost still drifts through the park, devastated by her treatment at the hands of her cheating husband.
Today Repton Park in Woodford Green is a large housing estate, but until 1997 it was the site of Claybury Hospital.
Claybury was opened in 1893 as a psychiatric asylum, and today’s residents have reported seeing apparitions of past inmates appearing on their wards, hearing scratching at their front doors, and disembodied voices.
St Mary the Virgin
The only Grade-I listed building in Redbridge, this Wanstead church is supposedly home to a number of spirits.
Local folklore says the apparition of a skeleton wanders the churchyard pushing a coffin in a cart and looking for the body of his wife, which was pilfered by grave robbers.
Legendary highwayman Dick Turpin has also reportedly been spotted in the cemetery where his uncle Thomas rests, as has the anonymous ‘lady in grey’ who supposedly scours the church grounds in an aimless quest to find her spouse.