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Boo! A spooky night at “Admiral Collingwood Inn” 22 February, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, things you don't need but probably want.
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Imagine you’re stranded in Portsmouth, “not many years after the Victory had sailed from Portsmouth, bearing Nelson towards Trafalgar and death,” your name is Hamilton and you really, really need a roof over your head, for “any honest citizen who tramped the Portsmouth streets  after dark ran the risk of anything from minor robbery to murder.”

Unfortunately, all inns are occupied, with two or three men sharing one bed, and you’re not tempted to accept that “‘prime billet’ kept by a ‘decent woman’. Oh woe betide you! But look – there’s still hope!

Turning a corner, he found himself in a short street of which the principal feature was an inn, announcing itself to be the ADMIRAL COLLINGWOOD and bearing an unflattering likeness of that gentleman on its swinging sign.

Alas, the place is not the safe port Mr Hamilton thought it to be, and he ends up sharing his bed with the ghost of a murdered sailor that night. A rather messy ghost it is, too. Good grief!

All unpleasantness for Mr Hamilton aside, such incidents aren’t welcome in the tourist industry, and the consequences for the “Admiral Collingwood Inn” were dire:

They walked through the busy streets to the turn of the lane; but no “Admiral Collingwood” could they see. A building something like what Mr Hamilton remembered of it certainly stood there, but it now housed a greengrocer’s shop…”

I suppose it’s safe to assume said greengrocer’s shop sold cabbages…!

If you’d like to read the full story of the spooky encounter at the “Admiral Collingwood”:

“The Whiskered Sailor of Portsmouth” – Michael and Mollie Hardwick, 1966

(All anthologies containing this story are out of print; I link to a seller offering one book. First come, first served, for all others: GOOGLE-FU!)

Mollie Hardwick is best known for her “Upstairs, Downstairs” work. Together with husband Michael, she also wrote “The World’s Greatest Sea Mysteries” (1969) and is the author of “Emma, Lady Hamilton” (1969).

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