I was recently invited to host Allan Watson‘s book launch for his latest book, Heart Swarm. The main protagonist in the book, Detective Will Harlan is a complex character, he has kind of screwed up his life and found himself with nowhere to live. Will takes himself off to The Cathedral House Hotel, based in the Townhead area of Glasgow. The hotel nestles in the shadows of the Necropolis, a famous Victorian cemetery which lies to the east of Glasgow Cathedral and is the last resting place of over fifty thousand individuals. It has been described as a “city of the dead” such is its size.This is an area of Glasgow which is steeped in history and there is no end to the ghost stories attached to this famous city landmark.
Allan and I met up over a coffee in the Cathedral House to discuss his forthcoming launch and I could feel something that just drew me to the hotel. I just got a very real sense of a presence from the venue that I was compelled to find out a little more about it. Something about the building drew me to it, I’m not sure if it was the location or the very real sense of history about the place but as soon as I went in, I felt immediately at home. My inner goth was definitely channelling itself here! As an East End girl at heart, I was actually born in the grounds of Duke Street prison in 1966 (long after it was a prison may I add!) so perhaps there was something about the building that was calling to me after all…
The hotel was built in 1877 and it was originally a hostel and rehabilitation centre for prisoners who had been released from the nearby Duke Street Prison. Duke Street Prison was home to many suffragettes and political activists with their ghosts rumoured to wander the hotel of an evening. In fact, the stunning Victorian building has been said to be Glasgow’s most haunted hotel and one of the spookiest venues in Scotland. A number of ghostly goings-on have been reported from the ghost who brushes by residents on the stairs to the chilling laughter of children coming from the top floor. Given the hotel’s original purpose along with its location next to The Necropolis, I’m not surprised that it is reported to be haunted!
While I definitely didn’t see any ghostly apparitions on my visit to the bar, I did experience a fantastically warm welcome in a bar full of character and charm. The bar is set over three levels each offering a welcome pew to travellers and visitors. The hotel also has a restaurant and has eight individual rooms with fantastic views of the Cathedral and The Necropolis. They have live music most weekends, quiz nights and they also host regular paranormal events in the hotel! Staff were welcoming and friendly and I just felt a real sense of being “home” in the hotel.
Although I didn’t see the rooms or eat in the restaurant, after my visit today, it is now on my bucket list to stay overnight and experience the goings on for myself!
You can find out more on the website but if you are in the area then I’d highly recommend that you go and have a wee look for yourself!
If you want to read more about Will Harlan in Heart Swarm then the book is available for purchase from Amazon and other bookstores.