Inside the most haunted pub in London

The Grenadier, in Belgrave Square, is said by many to be the most haunted pub in London.

Marta Portocarrero
Friday 30 October 2015 16:10 GMT
The most haunted pub in London

“He seems to be a friendly ghost. He has never done anything nasty”, says Paul Hongett, deputy manager of the Grenadier in Belgrave Square for the last five years. Mr Hongett has once spotted 'The Grenadier', if only for a brief instant.

“It was just a black figure. It was too dark to notice any facial features”, he recalled.

“I have never felt scared, really”, says Mr Hongett. “Everybody loves Cedric.”

Standing in the centre of the little square since 1720, the small building has certainly served many purposes in its time. It started as an officer’s mess, was visited by King George IV and, in 1818, became a licensed premise to serve as The Guardsman Public House.

Now it is mostly visited by local residents, coming in for an evening beer or some traditional dish, or tourists expecting an exciting sighting of Cedric, the ghost.

The story goes that on one cold night in of September 1818, a young Grenadier had been caught cheating at a game of cards. His comrades savagely beat him to death as punishment and since then he has been haunting the pub.

Gary Wright and Tim Reeve, the latter a former Grenadier, have been coming to the pub every week for many years now. They know the story by heart, as well as every corner of the building. They are familiar with its ceilings and walls covered by foreign currencies, and newspaper cuttings spread all around the front room.

“As recognition of the story, [people] believe that by attaching money to the walls, they are effectively paying off the debt”, explained Mr Wright.

For the moment, though, it seems like the debt is not yet paid, because Cedric continues to play tricks on customers and staff.

Besides glasses breaking and icy chills befalling the pub, Mr Hongett can describe other spooky activities going on at The Grenadier: “One day, Tony (the manager) was here all alone, setting a table up and when he finished and came back, everything was exactly the same, but the chairs were in the other room.”

“How can you explain this?”, wonders Mr Reeve.

While some people believe that there is really a ghost living around the pub, others simply don’t. Hundreds of people will visit the Grenadier fascinated by the idea of a potential spooky encounter for many more years to come though.

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