Last Friday I found myself at the Viaduct Tavern in the heart of the City. It was definitely a place I won't forget in a hurry!
Being tea total I ordered a diet coke and took in the general atmosphere. The customers seemed to be solicitors, city workers or banker types - you get the general idea. The pub itself seems to be Victorian and you could almost transport yourself back in time to the fog filled streets seen on countless film and television programmes. The Viaduct Tavern does have an interesting surprise up its sleeve however and this is the reason I took myself and my trusty Brompton with me, to pay it a visit.
The Central Criminal Courts are across the road and they were built over the former infamous, Newgate Prison which was in operation between 1188 and 1902! What has all this to do with the Viaduct Tavern I hear you ask? Well, if you ask in a gentlemanly way the staff will allow you to venture downstairs to view their cellars. Now these aren't just any old cellars, some of them contain the actual cells that survived Newgate Prison's closure.
The cells are horrid!! Cold, dark, musty smell and leave one in no doubt that their purpose was for. Apparently, one cell in particular has received a great deal of interest from ghost hunters all across the world for obvious reasons. I was permitted to go into one of the cells and found the whole experience quite terrifying and couldn't stay in their for long. Staff told me that they don't like going down there at night and avoid it at all costs. Doors tend to close by themselves. Strange sounds can be heard - people moaning, footsteps, people talking and doors being slammed shut! I had my iPhone with me and intended to take some photos but I was totally preoccupied with a feeling of unease so forgot about it completely.
I can't say that I would go there again but believe me it was an experience and going back outside later on with the sun setting as I cycled off, did make me feel quite uneasy. If you find yourself in central London you might want to give this a go yourself. However, I suggest you take a friend to share the experience and don't go there in the evening when dark, even if it is on a Brompton!