The Journal | Halloween


The Ghost In The Stove Pipe Hat



Sometime in the mid-1800s two bodies were discovered on Jermyn Street, just a few feet from our front door.

Witnesses reported seeing a suspicious-looking man leaving the area, not long after the deaths were most likely to have occurred. They told police that the man in question was wearing a jet black coat with the collar upturned, and a tall stove pipe hat.

The man in question was never found, and the deaths went apparently unexplained, but according to Fortnum's folklore the man in the stove pipe hat remains at large. Security guards, working after-dark over the years since the murders, have reported seeing his ghostly apparition roaming the floors of our famous old store.

More than one guard has reported catching a glimpse of a ghost, whose bony, pale white and whiskered face is framed by the upturned collar of a long flowing coat, and topped with a high hat of deathly black.

He has been spotted on our red-carpeted staircase, up in our 5th floor boardroom, and down below street level in our Crypt, where he apparently likes to run a cold, bony hand over the wine bottles in our cellar.

To those who swear they've seen him, he is a chilling, malevolent presence. Whenever a floorboard creaks in our old building, apparently under the weight of nothing at all, they say they can feel a chill in the air.

But is he a real presence, or the figment of an over-active imagination, stoked by the liberal application of poetic licence?

Whatever the truth, guests at our Halloween Tours, led by our in-house historian Dr. Andrea Tanner, should consider themselves warned: if you catch the sudden swish of a long black coat and the quick dart of a tall jet-black hat. It just might be the Stove-Hatted Gent, the scourge of Fortnum's security guards...


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