This year East End Tours are celebrating the London Underground being 153 years old. Weaving its way through over 250 miles of underground tunnels, it’s one of the most sophisticated public transport systems in the world. With 11 lines, reaching to over 268 stations in and around the capital, it links one billion travellers with their destination each year. With the underground being a hive of activity, you would of course, expect a fatality to happen every now and then. Yet with a death rate of only one to every 300 million journeys, there isn’t much hope of a London ghost tour on the tube anytime soon. However, that’s not entirely true, and the underground does have a few skeletons in its closet; and we do mean skeletons.
When the Victoria line was being constructed during the 1960s, a tunnel-boring machine, ploughed through a long forgotten burial pit, dating back to the black plague of 1665. The sight was so ghastly and morbid, that it traumatised several burley workers so much, that they never returned back to work. The pit was so dense with skeleton remains that a newer, more powerful excavating machine had to be brought in to replace the damaged one. Furthermore, during the war, Hitler’s blitz scored direct hits on several tube stations causing devastation, disruption and a huge loss of life.
People have died building, maintaining, or even been murdered on the tube, while death by natural causes has also taken a number of lives over the last 153 years. Some people have even taken their own lives, while at the same time; crashes, derailments and severe fires have claimed a large number of lives. Below is a list of our top three haunted tube stations. To get a natural feel for London, try our walks and tours by visiting our website today!
- Bethnal Green Tube Station – East London
Known as a deep level station, it was used as a public air raid shelter during the war; even the Krays sheltered there as kids with their mother Violet. It seems ironically tragic that a place that saved so many lives, would be the site of Britain’s worst civilian disaster during the war. One night during an expected retaliation bombing, more than 2000 people made their way down the solitary staircase.
As bombs began to fall, a surge of people began to panic and force their way down the slippery stairwell. A woman with a baby in her arms slipped and fell at the bottom of the stairs, while a man behind her fell over, thereby creating a domino effect for the people behind them. Within 20 seconds, hundreds of people found themselves being crushed.
That night 173 people died of asphyxiation; 27 men, 84 women and 62 children. In 1981, a station supervisor was securing the station. As he was leaving, he reported hearing children’s crying getting louder and louder. He then reported hearing a women’s agonising cries and ear piercing screams. He also admitted to hearing other noises he couldn’t identify, but said it sounded like people panicking and rushing.
- Liverpool Street Station – East London
In the summer of 2000, a line controller at the station was viewing footage on CCTV. He noticed a man dressed in white overalls, standing at the entrance of the Central Line. Confused and a little worried as it was 02.00 am and the station was closed, he rang his supervisor and asked him to go and investigate. Upon going to investigate, the supervisor could not find the man or any sign of any one recently being there. Using a phone at the bottom of the escalator, he called the line controller to inform him of the vacant platform. The controller confused and shocked replied with ‘But this guy was standing right next to you, how could you not see him?’
Baffled by the mystery, the supervisor agreed to go back for a second check, but like the first investigation, there was nobody to be found. When he called the controller a second time round and explained there was still no sign of anyone, the controller insisted that as he watched on the CCTV, he could clearly see a man in white overalls was within touching distance of his supervisor.
As the supervisor turned to leave the platform, he noticed a pair of white overalls on a bench. Certain that if anybody had walked past him to exit the platform, he would have clearly seen him or her, but didn’t. What happened that night is still unsolved and remains one of the East End tours most perplexing mysteries. Try our brilliant London ghost tours by clicking here!
- Covent Garden Tube Station – North East London
The station is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Victorian actor, by the name of William Terriss. On the evening of December 16th 1897, William was entering the Adelphi Theatre, when a disgruntled actor friend stabbed him to death. As he lay dying in the arms of his leading lady, he whispered to her ‘I’ll be back’.
An employee of the station who saw his ghost in 1955, and who subsequently identified him in a photograph, described him as a tall, distinguished figure, wearing a grey suit with light coloured gloves. The last reported sighting of William was at the station during 1972, when staff members reported hearing footsteps and strange noises on an empty platform.
If this article has got you thinking about London’s cadaverous past and you would like to immerse yourself in the surroundings of these tales, then why not try one of www.eastendtours.com East End walks for a more in-depth analysis of London’s grizzly history.