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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
23rd July 1989 Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe was born in West London.
23rd July 1986 The Prince Andrew, Duke of York, second son of Queen Elizabeth II , was married to Sarah Ferguson in Westminster Abbey.
23rd July 1975 Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends, premieres in London
23rd July 1966 England beat Argentina 1-0 at Wembley Stadium to reach the World Cup Semi-Finals.
23rd July 1947 Born today: David Essex, London, rock vocalist/actor (That'll be the Day)
23rd July 1946 Born today: Andy MacKay, London, rock sax/oboe (Roxy Music-Dance Away)
23rd July 1940 Blitz all-night air raid by German bombers on London begins
23rd July 1900 Pan-African Congress meets in London
23rd July 1863 Alexandra Park opens in North London
This pub is haunted by its founder, Frank Crocker.
Location: 24 Aberdeen Place, Kilburn, NW8 8JR
Description: This grand old pub is reputedly haunted by its founder Kilburn publican Frank Crocker - distraught by his mistaken impression that trains from Marylebone would stop nearby; the expected customers never materialised.
Originally called The Crown Hotel, it was built in 1898 in an unassuming Maida Vale side street with 2 bars, one ornately functional and one opulantly grand. There once was a prominent bust of Caracalla, a sly dig by the architect. Caracalla was a Roman emperor known for his architectural excesses and his complete insanity.
It surely was the biggest gamble in the history of pubs: the railway was approaching from the north, heading straight as an arrow for Maida Vale. Surely, reasoned Crocker, it would stop right were he was building his palatial pub; and the Crown Hotel would become the Railway Hotel, and a goldmine.
Alas for Crocker! The line turned left a few degrees at St John's Wood, to terminate not at his doorway, but about a mile away, where Marylebone Station now stands.
The Crown Hotel was alas a palace in the middle of nowhere; the grandest folie in London.
Crocker, naturally, went bust and then killed himself by jumping out of an upstairs window here.
The name was changed to fit the legend in 1987.
The real story is that Frank died of natural causes at the age of 41 in 1904 and was a very respected member of the community. The suicide tale was invented by the new owner who had an over active imagination and was trying to make a name for the bar!