Berkeley Square Mystery

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No mention of Berkeley Square could be considered quite complete without a reference to the so-called "Berkeley Square mystery."

In the 4th, 5th, and 6th series of the publication Notes and Queries there is considerable correspondence on this subject, which is one that has exercised a fascination over many people for a great number of years.

REFERENCE 1

In reply to two correspondents seeking an explanation, a gentleman who signs himself "J. C. M." vouched for the accuracy of the following facts:

"The house in question belonged to an eccentric gentleman, who chose to spend no money on it; then by degrees began the stories. He died. His sister sent a house agent to report as to the advisability of repairs, etc., considering the shortness of the then lease."

The agent told J. C. M. that the place was in hideous disrepair. "He asked the maids if they ever heard strange noises." They said "No." "Do you ever see ghosts?" They laughed. "We never seed none."

But far from this statement satisfying the curious, it gave rise to a lengthy reply from "C. C. M.," who tabulates his answers under three headings. As these provide us with some information about the house in question No. 50 Berkeley Square it will be interesting to give the substance of them.

REFERENCE 2

Firstly, it is said that the last name appearing in the London Directory as an occupier of the house is that of the Hon. Miss Curzon, who died in 1859 aged ninety, and from that date until 1880 the house had the external appearance of an unoccupied dwelling.

There is also no doubt about the fact of the late Lord Lyttelton having written to Notes and Queries in November 1872:

"It is quite true that there is a house in Berkeley Square (No. 50), said to be haunted, and long unoccupied on that account. There are strange stories about it, into which this deponent cannot enter."

Soon after that another investigator took the trouble to call at the house to make inquiries, and was told that the house was occupied, his informant refusing to say by whom.

REFERENCE 3

The next reference is very much of this world, being no less than an application by the collector of taxes at Marlborough Street Police Court against a Myers, then the occupier, for taxes overdue, for which a warrant was issued.

This communication was followed by a mass of correspondence from various people the most sensational being the story told by J. F. Meehan of Bath, and incorporated in a letter dated 22nd January 1871, addressed to Bishop Thirlwall from a correspondent whose name is not given.

It is a good ghost story, and those interested in such matters will find it in Notes and Queries.

OTHER REFERENCES

Other sources say that on Miss Curzon's death the house came into the possession of Todhardy (sic), who sold it to the Myers mentioned before.

On his death his legatee, Miss Myers, was bedridden and determined during her life to do nothing with the house, which would be quite sufficient to account for its dreary appearance. Subsequently Lord Fitzhardinge sold a reversionary lease to Fish, the well known builder.

However, the matter was not allowed to die, and four further lengthy references, including another "creepy" story, appeared on this matter. It has been a subject which nobody, with the best of intentions, seems to have been able to provide with a sufficient degree of gruesomeness to satisfy some of the correspondents.

As a pleasing mystery, which was unintentionally parodied by Miss Broughton and may have had its origin in Lord Lytton's fearful story, the ghost of Berkeley Square does not seem to have been an unqualified success.

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