My Books



THE POLTERGEIST PRINCE OF LONDON

The Remarkable True Story of the Battersea Poltergeist


(Available in paperback or for the Kindle)

Published by The History Press, 2013, 320pp, illus.

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HAUNTED LONDON

Ghosts and legends of London


(Available in paperback or for the Kindle)

Published by The History Press, 2007, 128pp, illus.

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HAUNTED WANDSWORTH

Ghosts and legends of the London Borough of Wandsworth (covers Balham, Battersea, Putney, Tooting & Wandsworth)


(Available in paperback)

Published by The History Press, 2006, 96pp, illus.

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HAUNTED LAMBETH

Ghosts and legends of the London Borough of Lambeth (covers Brixton, Clapham, North Lambeth, Norwood, Stockwell & Streatham)


(Available in paperback or for the Kindle)

Published by The History Press, 2013, 96pp, illus.

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STRANGE MITCHAM

Ghosts, legends and curiosities of Mitcham in Surrey / south London


(Paperback)



(Kindle)

Published by Shadowtime Publishing, 2nd edition 2011, illus.

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MYSTERIOUS MITCHAM

More ghosts, legends and curiosities of Mitcham in Surrey / south London


(Published online)

Mysterious Mitcham

Online sequel to 'Strange Mitcham'.

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Not tempted by anything above? Okay then, try this:


Notes from a Weird World

(October 2015)

Sweeney Todd: Fleet Street's Demon Barber

Sweeney Todd: Fleet Street's Demon Barber

The gruesome story of Sweeney Todd, the 'Demon Barber of Fleet Street', is regarded by most as legend. Some, however, insist the murders really happened. They believe that Todd really did polish off wealthy-looking customers by opening a concealed trapdoor beneath a tilting chair, thereby dropping his victims into a cellar where he would slit their throats and take their valuables. Their corpses he would then take through a tunnel to below nearby Bell Yard, where stood the premises of his accomplice, Mrs Lovett, a cook whose meat pies had a very, very special taste.

Author Peter Haining is one of the few who maintain that these are tales of true historical events. He has concluded that Todd's barbershop stood in around 1800 by the eastern end of St Dunstan-in-the-West church in Fleet Street.

The church that stands on the site today is not the same building; the older church was removed in the early 19th century to allow Fleet Street to be widened. The approximate location of Todd's premises (according to Haining's book, 'Sweeney Todd: The real story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street') is shown in around the middle of the following photo.

Claimed location of Sweeney Todd's barbershop

Mrs Lovett's pie shop stood in Bell Yard, roughly where the dark-painted building stands to the left in the next photo (again according to Haining).

Claimed location of Mrs Lovett's pie shop

History or not, the legend of Sweeney Todd was clearly visible when I wandered around this area in August 2015. Just a few seconds' walk from the claimed site of Mrs Lovett's pie shop, The Old Bank of England pub was offering passing gastronomes their own very special 'delicious pies'.

Clearly, this is a story that still has meat on it.

Old Bank of England pub

Old Bank of England pub

Old Bank of England pub


Source:

Haining, Peter. 'Sweeney Todd: The real story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street', Robson Books, London, 2002.


Image credits:

Pie adapted from photograph © Glane23 (Geoff Lane)

Other photographs © James Clark

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