St Botolph's Without Bishopsgate, photographed by Dorothee Schröder

The ghost of St Botolph Without BishopsgateThe ghost of St Botolph Without Bishopsgate

St Botolph's Without Bishopsgate, photographed by Dorothee Schröder

The church of St Botolph Without Bishopsgate lies on the Eastern fringe of the old City, the square mile, between the towering office blocks of London’s wealthy financial institutions. The nearest station is Liverpool Street Station and you can reach the church by leaving the station via the Bishopsgate exit and turning right. Walk down Bishopsgate, the road, where the boundary between City and East End can be felt and seen very clearly, and where you are confronted with the mixture of old and new, tradition and modernism, at every street corner.

Opposite is Bishopsgate police station, where, on the evening of the 30th September 1888, Catherine Eddowes spent some time sleeping in a cell after she had been arrested for drunkenness. She was released at 1 a.m. and headed out into the night. Her last words to the police constable were “Good night, old cock.” She then walked towards Houndsditch and became the second victim of Jack the Ripper that night, when she was killed in Mitre Square just 40 minutes later. Visit Mitre Square on our self-guided Jack the Ripper Walk through Whitechapel’s “Ripper” streets:

Bishopsgate Police Station (Photo Philipp Röttgers)
Bishopsgate Police Station
(Photo: Philipp Röttgers)

Cross over Liverpool Street and you will reach the splendid Church of St Botolph Without Bishopsgate. The church is part of our self-guided walk “Haunted London: Ghosts of London”. Order the walk here:

The ghost in the photograph

In 1982, on a Saturday afternoon, photographer Chris Brackley took a picture inside the church. No one apart from his wife was present, there were only the two of them. After developing the photograph however, he was surprised to find a mysterious figure standing on the right-hand balcony. On closer inspection, it seemed to be a woman wearing an old-fashioned garb. There was no double exposure and his equipment was working perfectly well. Was it a ghost?

A bizarre twist of the story

A few years later, when the crypt was restored, a builder knocked down a wall on the right balcony and stumbled over a pile of old dusty coffins. One of them came open, containing the rather well-preserved body of a woman. Her face with the glaring stare seemed to bare an almost uncanny resemblance to the woman in Chris Brackley’s photograph.

Was it the same woman? I do not reproduce the photograph here, as I do not own the rights, but with a quick search on the internet you can find it and make your own conclusions.

Haunted London: Ghosts of London

I hope you enjoyed this ghostly tale. St Botolph Without Bishopsgate is part of our self-guided walk “Haunted London: Ghosts of London”. You can buy it in my shop.

I am collecting your London horror stories. Now it’s up to you. Do you have any ghost stories that you want to share? Have you encountered any ghosts in London? Is there any London-related ghost sighting that you want to mention?

Send me a message or leave your story in the comments below. I might turn them into another video or blog. If you go to these haunted places and meet a ghost or two, drop me a line. Or let me know and we can visit these sites together.

Photo of St Botolph Without Bishopsgate: Dorothee Schröder

Our self-guided walks

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