Earlier this week, I was invited to spend the night sleeping in the undercroft under the old London Bridge. The site itself is being cleared out and made good for a new theme exhibition and had been popping up in the news after dead bodies were found in the lower area – and hauntings reported by the workers.
Invited by [email protected] from The Londonist, myself and a group of fellow scribes were invited to spend the night in the site, all alone and – see what happened!
Met the group by the London Bridge itself and we went inside to what is still very much a building site – the owner then gave us a good tour around the site explaining how the exhibition and show will work.
It sounds very interesting – with the ground floor being devoted to the history of London Bridge, which is probably one of the more famous bridges in the world thanks to the “falling down” nursery rhyme. The lower level is then being given over to a horror show, which is being built by a team from America who have a lot of experience in creating horror shows. It seems that the nearby London Dungeon is a bit tame by comparison with what they are aiming for at London Bridge.
Another nice touch is that with the famous Borough Market literally just round the corner – rather than outsourcing the cafe facilities to one of the usual touristy cafe providers – the owner has found a local firm to provide good quality food/drinks, with much of the food coming from the market itself. Nice.
As mentioned above, the site is still very much a building site and they had some of the animatronic ghouls downstairs waiting to be installed in the theme show. Unfortunately, the previous owners had covered many of the walls in concrete, so that the brickwork is covered up, but the roof areas have been sympathetically cleaned up and restored.
It is downstairs that the skeletons were found – and are thought to be plague victims from around the 16th century. The bones are still in storage in the caverns – and some may be put on display (respectfully) in the exhibition later one.
The site is actually incredibly large – and will have a lot to entertain once it has been finished.
One freaky, and somewhat annoying thing is that my torch played up that night. It has been reliable for some years and I charged it up before leaving for the site – but the battery was failing after less than 10 minutes of use and we had to be careful with using it for the rest of the night. I have recharged it since I got home for the same amount of time, and it seems fine now. Very odd.
Our tour over – we were left in the site along for the night. Being nosey, we then spent several hours exploring all the corners of the site and taking photos. [email protected] made a map of the site to get his bearings. Later on in the evening, we did try a bit of spooky stuff and tried to contact the dead with an impromptu Ouija Board, which um – got some interesting results.
One amusing moment was in a far room where a clock could be heard ticking quietly, and it actually seemed to be coming from an empty corner. Quite spooky – but the mystery was solved when a wall clock was found hiding in a cardboard box in the room. The solid walls were refracting the sound around the room making it seem as if the sound was coming from somewhere else.
Finally crashing to sleep very early in the morning, apart from the cold of sleeping on a concrete floor, to be honest – didn’t have any problems with my sleep being disturbed by ghosts.
The next morning, we were let out of the site (and into fresh air!) and off home.
It was undeniably, a very odd and interesting experience – and I think it will be worth a visit back once the exhibition and theme show are finished, which will be next February. Many thanks to [email protected] for the invite and the owners of the site for allowing us to stay overnight in their building site.