The Most Haunted ‘House’ In London?



Surrounded by venerable museums, pubs and churches, Senate House in Bloomsbury is the admin centre of the University of London, and has proved a source of inspiration for British writers. Books partly set there include include Graham Greene’s ‘The Ministry of Fear’, and George Orwell’s ‘1984’ – his wife Eileen worked inside it for the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information, which became the Ministry of Truth in her husband’s novel.

The building has plenty of remarkable features. It feels like a piece of an American city in central London, and  including an art deco ballroom with a sprung wooden floor. Nearby there are creatures in jars at the Huntingdon and Jeremy Bentham’s displayed corpse, but I was surprised to learn that Senate House also has a reputation for being haunted. Bloomsbury is one of the most ancient areas in London, and has seen more than its fair share of murders. But that doesn’t explain why a relatively modern building should house so many ghosts.

Glowing spectral figures have been seen in the library, the lift, various doorways and even in the loos. The Blue Lady is said to appear in the Senate Room, sitting in one of the booths. A lost river has started bubbling up beneath the building, coming through vents and drains – and where there are rivers there are always phantoms*.

The eighth floor of the building is said to make people uncomfortable, while on higher floors the lights come on by themselves, the temperature falls and something up there hurls books around.

One solution for the ghost in the lift presents itself - Sir Edwin Deller, Principal of the University of London, was crushed to death inside the lift shaft. So often has the building been associated with strange goings-on that there’s a curious website dedicated to them here.

*See Bryant & May novels passim.


13 comments on “The Most Haunted ‘House’ In London?”

  1. Brian Evans says:

    I think bits of “Poirot” and “Foyles War” were filmed inside, and out. I suppose it’s what can be called very 1930’s neo-fascist in design.

  2. Martin says:

    It was also used as a New York hotel in “Jeeves and Wooster”. It’s more Art Deco than fascist, although the size is very totalitarian! The old town hall in Clerkenwell actually has the fasces ( sticks with an axe blade) incorporated into its design.

  3. Jan says:

    This place doubled for a New York building in Superman films, the Christopher Reece ones.

    The basement Is really interesting it’s tiled like the tube system. I think the building may have had a role in 2nd world war.

    The building which is reputedly the most haunted house in London is in fact a house in Grosvenor Square number 50 if memory serves. Again unsurprisingly water plays a role in 50 Grosvenor Square the Westbourne runs beaneath this part of the square. There is a T.A regiment base nearby and when you are in the basement of that building you can hear the Westbourne, bubbling along underneath.

    The Senate building is probably flooded by a tributary of the,Fleet.

  4. Martin says:

    By the way admin I would love to see the Cornhill monsters in a Bryant and May!

  5. admin says:

    Well you never know – I have a few good ideas for B&M novels lined up, including a return-to-scary-roots tale using London’s dark history.

  6. Martin Taylor says:

    Looking forward to them all!

  7. Wayne Mook says:

    A modern building that’s haunted, it reminds me of the Byrom St buildings in Liverpool. The old building was fine but it was the new one (1st part built 1960.) that was reputedly haunted, supposedly built on a cemetery as told by the security stall in late 80’s early 90’s. Having worked late into the night in both the newer building was much the spookier. The lifts would travel up and down at random. How the new one is now since the renovations of 2010 I don’t know. When I was there it was Liverpool Poly.


  8. Ken Mann says:

    It used to be the tallest building in London, hence presumably why it was the gathering point for sighted survivors in “The Day of the Triffids”.

  9. Jan says:

    Ken I’d completely forgotten that.
    Day of the Triffids made such an impression on me as a young teenager. Reading the section
    of the story where the hero comes into a deserted London and nature is reclaiiming parts of Piccadilly and Regent street was compelling. I didn’t even know the layout of the capital then but I just found it fascinating.

    Years and years afterwards when the lorry and tanker drivers went on their strike 2004 maybe or 2003 I walked along Park Lane which had been completely blocked off and London seemed deserted and it really brought to mind the Day of the Triffids and that wonderful description of an empty changed capital.

  10. Jan says:

    One other thing that’s well odd about the Senate building is that it’s a TARDIS in reverse. Seems vast from outside but the library space is overkill and quite cramped. Weird

  11. Jan says:

    Overfull Doh !! Sodding predictive text

  12. Helen Martin says:

    What’s with this “predictive text”? Is it something that just happens on Ipads or something? My computer doesn’t try to tell me what to type. Perhaps you need a stronger personality to engage with he electronics?

  13. Jan says:

    I type onto a Kindle fire. Sometimes it changes what you type into it and you don’t see orcrealise whats going on.
    It’s,a bloody hell thing at times

Comments are closed.