A shadow in Georgian London: The House of Hidden Things

The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were a place to lose oneself. Laid out among Lambeth’s green fields as an escape from 17th Century London, over the following 200 years they became a virtual town in themselves, an unrivalled destination for music and theatre, drinking and bear-baiting.

But there was seclusion and shadow amid the noise. Dark, tree-lined alleys were a favourite haunt of the amorous.… Read more

Shadows and clocks: Temporal Disturbances at Hornsey Town Hall

Hornsey Town Hall is suspended in time, caught between a vanished past and an uncertain future. Recently, we walked through the revolving doors of this crumbling Crouch End landmark, right into one of the last guided tours before the building closes for redevelopment. We tagged along. The guide was passionate, informative and – unsurprisingly – mentioned nothing of the rumours of temporal disturbances which had brought PoL there in the first place.… Read more

Cursed gifts and untold visions: The Headless Statues of Crystal Palace Park

There is much to be written about the drifts of psychic memory that swirl through Crystal Palace Park. The famous dinosaurs are a petrified glimpse into the knowledge and preoccupations of Victorian science. A deserted and beautiful subway lies hidden under an A road, a reminder of the long-demolished railway station it once served. And root-mangled stairways lead to shabby remnants of 20th Century concrete utopianism.… Read more

Exit strategy for a restless dead: The Hell Tree of St Pancras

There are a host of possible reasons for an unquiet grave. Ghosts themselves rarely articulate them in detail. However forceful they may be when it comes to communicating general anguish, getting to the nub of what troubles the dead can, for the living, involve little more than guesswork.

For John Tweed, the newly installed vicar at St Pancras Old Church when it suffered what appears to have been a mass supernatural manifestation in 1859, the initial cause of the phenomenon was clear: London’s over-stocked graveyards were being carved up to make way for the railway age.… Read more