The Brunswick House Institute & Club was established at Vauxhall in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign for the improvement and benefit of the locomotive drivers of the London and South Western Railway which, at that time, terminated here at Nine Elms.
Soon after LASSCO arrived at the Old House the last secretary, long retired, of the railwaymen’s club visited us and over strong tea and fruit cake regaled us with the legend and lore of the old steam days of the Nine Elms yard, the days of double headed runs to Weymouth and the boat trains to join the transatlantic liners from Southampton.
One of his more plausible recollections was, after an evening enjoying the real [and notoriously cheap] ale at one of the six bars then installed at Brunswick House, he encountered a supernatural apparition on his way up to his apartment in the garret. A young woman in a diaphanous white bridal gown descended the staircase, her feet seemingly not touching the steps, her downcast face obscured by a gossamer veil.
The last secretary was astounded and as he tried to gather his wits the spectre faded and disappeared.
After a disturbed night’s sleep the recollection flooded back. With some trepidation he went below to look for clues as to the visitation. At first he was reassured that there was no evidence of anything unusual having occurred – until he felt something beneath his stockinged feet. On closer inspection he found grains of rice scattered on the staircase….
In olden times the predecessor of wedding confetti was grain thrown over the bride perhaps as a symbol of hoped-for fecundity. Could the spectral bride have been jilted at the altar rails abandoned by her husband to be?
Research into potential candidates in particular and into supernatural visitation in the Old House more generally continues.