First an email I received:
“Please don’t publish my name or details but I saw what I believe to be a ghost in Threadneedle Street, London.I was on a short visit to London and was walking alone in the late evening along Threadneedle Street, near to where the Bank of England is positioned.
Suddenly, without warning, this lady was walking towards me, I don’t know where she had appeared from. One minute she wasn’t there and the next minute she was.
The lady looked strange and was dressed all in black in what I thought looked like the style from the 1800s. She was wearing a black bonnet with a long veil and her dress was long and full.
I could see her face through the veil and she looked sad. As I passed her she glanced up briefly and asked in a soft voice, “Have you seen my brother?” I muttered, “No,” in reply.
Almost immediately afterwards I turned round, to have another look at her, but she had disappeared. There was no one behind me other than a couple walking in the same direction as me.
I’ve since read that the Bank of England has a ghost known as the Black Nun. I wonder if this is who I saw.”
As I often say, I accept stories and emails in good faith. But the Bank of England is said to have a ghost, a woman called Sarah Whitehead.
The story goes that Sarah’s brother, Philip Whitehead, was employed in the Cashier’s Office at the Bank of England but he appears to have had sticky fingers. So much so that he was found guilty at the Old Bailey of forgery.
They didn’t muck about in those days and in 1812 Philip was duly hanged for his crime.
As strange as it sounds nowadays the death of her brother was kept from Sarah for a long period. But you can’t keep such things hidden forever and one day she went to the Bank of England and asked to see her brother.
The person she was enquiring to told her of her brother’s crime. This had a dreadful effect on Sarah and virtually sent her mad. She couldn’t accept that anything had happened to her beloved brother and started visiting the bank every day in search of him. She was also convinced that the bank owed her substantial amounts of money.
Day after day she would cause a disturbance at the bank upsetting staff and customers. In 1818 the bank realised they had to do something about this and offered Sarah a substantial amount of money. There was one condition and that was that she must never visit the bank again.
Sarah kept to the conditions and never returned to the bank – until, that is, she died.
Following her death she was often seen at night, still dressed all in black, and enquired to people she met, “Have you seen my brother?”
Sarah came to be known as the Black Nun or the Bank Nun.
|Formation of the Bank of England in 1694Source|