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The shadowy figure of a woman in Victorian clothes still haunts the Hare and Billet Road

The Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath, old painting

Matt wrote:

Hey – I only just saw an old blog post of yours about the Hare and Billet Ghost. I’m actually the guy who wrote the original message board post about it, and my friends seriously saw it before Googling. Well, they say anyway.

It doesn’t seem to show any more as the AOL page it came from has been deleted, but I’ve found a cached version. If you’re still interested, I’d be grateful if you could blog it to preserve it for posterity:

“Hare and Billet Road, Blackheath, SE10

The shadowy figure of a woman dressed in Victorian clothes still haunts the area of the Hare and Billet Road.

She is thought to have been a woman who had just left her husband and was waiting for her lover, who never arrived. When she realised that she had been jilted she hanged herself from an elm tree.

Her ghost has been seen as recently as November, 1971, when she is said to have almost collided with a bank executive who did not realise that she was a ghost.”

There’s a cached version here.

I’ve no idea whether this is a genuine local myth, or has been recently created. But I suppose all myths start somehow…

Image credit:  “Near the Hare and Billet Inn” – a section from a painting by Thomas Luny (1759-1837) held in the British Library.

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Well it doesn’t look like that any more…

The Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath, old painting

“Near the Hare and Billet Inn” – a section from a painting by Thomas Luny (1759-1837) held in the British Library.  Click here to see the full image.  And a mysterious comment spotted on a message board about a ghost in the Hare and Billet pub:

The Hare and Billet Ghost – a woman in Victorian dress with a bonnet and no face supposedly haunts the bit right outside the pub on Blackheath, just standing there, looking like she’s waiting for a bus. She was supposed to run away with her lover, but hung herself from the elm trees near the pond after realising she’d been jilted. Two of my friends claim to have seen her last November while out jogging, without knowing of her existence. They Googled her and found out the last reported sighting was also in November back in the 70s.

Well, no amount of googling will reveal the Hare and Billet ghost to me!  I’ll just have to head over there, and wait for her to appear.  A few pints should do the trick…

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The Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath

The Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath

I’ve never quite got around to mentioning The Hare and Billet pub.  Just down the road from the Pagoda, and Jack the Ripper’s house (possibly not), is this quiet little pub.  Much more low key than the Princess of Wales pub, but none the worse for it.  You won’t find blaring music or surly teenagers serving you… It’s more of a old fashioned country pub, with nice views of the heath from the front windows.

Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath.  Greene King IPA

The pub is run by Greene King, which I don’t think has the best ales.  Their IPA is nice though…  Abbot ale is not for me, and their Flowers has occasionally been known to be distinctly off (although when I mentioned this, they apologised striaght away, and got me a pint of something else).

They also sell Aspall Draught Cider, which is excellent, as well as lots of dodgy looking lemon and lime ciders “Kopparberg?”, sponsored by Bulmers – a name to strike fear into the heart of anyone who likes a good cider…

Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath.  Aspall Cider

I can’t understand the sudden popularity of Bulmers cider – I watched the 1970s horror that is Abigail’s Party the other day, and Bev was waxing lyrical about how wonderful it is. This should be warning enough to anyone… Anyway, back to the plot…

For such an old pub ( it has been there since at least 1765), it can feel strangely generic, with adverts for bruised boxers promoting Nuts TV staring down at you in the gents toilets, flat screen TVs playing sport, and quiz machines flashing their wares in the corner.  Having said that, the TV tends to be off during the day time.

Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath.  Inside view

It is much much better for a quiet sort of pint than the Princess of Wales at the weekend.  It has a friendly looking dog (called Bonnie), and pleasant bar staff.  The bangers and mash is also very good, they do great vegetarian bangers.  We also had an opportunity to look at, and nearly taste the pork ones too, as they came over first by mistake!  (Again, the staff were very sorry, and brough the right ones over soon enough!  I think we’re just unlucky or something)…

If they only had some space outside, and some local beers, it would be a truly great pub.  There used to be a Blackheath Brewery serving light ale onto the Heath in the 1820s, although I suppose the nearest thing we have to that is Zero Degrees, now.

Anyway, all in all, it’s a nice place, and well worth a trip if you fancy a quiet pint.  More on the investigations into The Dacre Arms, over at the other end of Blackheath soon…

Fancyapint.com has a review here.

Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath.  Pork Sausages
Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath.  Dog
Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath.  Veggie Sausages

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