It’s one of my favourite London pubs and a little different from some I visit with the difference being the wonderfully secluded and rather exclusive district of London it fits itself in.
The Grenadier is a public house in Belgravia, London. It was originally built in 1720 as the officers’ mess for the senior infantry regiment of the British army, the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards and so was located in a courtyard of their barracks. It was opened to the public in 1818 as The Guardsman and was subsequently renamed in honour of the Grenadier Guards’ actions in the Battle of Waterloo.
Being secluded in a wealthy district of London, it was frequented in the past by the Duke of Wellington and King George IV, and continues to attract an elite clientele such as Madonna and Prince William and indeed myself which is likely part of the reason the elite clientele like to stop off here!
You’d never know it was only 5 minutes walk from the eternally busy Hyde Park Corner and hectic Knightsbridge with its world famous department stores but it is much more my cup of tea.
It is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a subaltern (a Junior Officer) who was beaten to death for cheating at cards. This isn’t the only pub in London where cheating at gambling has left the odd soldier being murdered but this one has a little bit of a twist.
The ghost of the poor fellow is said to haunt the pub and somewhere in the midst of time, it occurred to someone that his spirit might be hanging around as he was too poor to go to heaven… though that surely breaks every rule I’ve heard about heaven!
So to try and help things out, people leave money for the ghost to help it on its way and they do so by sticking money to the ceiling of the pub. In fact the ceiling is covered in money from around the world, thousands of paper (and indeed now plastic) notes some with little dedications.
I must say that I’ve never seen this particular ghost but the Landlord would likely say that it is because one needs to drink a bit more. It makes for a nice little stop-off on one of my new Walking Tours Mayfair and Belgravia Walking Tour which I am sure I will mention again one day!
It’s heartening to see that 200 years later, people are still happy to donate some of their hard-earned money for the wellbeing of a ghost of a card-shark cheat!