Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 The Hummums Covent Garden


"Hammam" is the Arabic word for a bagnio, or bath, such as was originally "The Hummums," in Covent Garden, before it became an hotel.

There is a marvellous ghost story connected with this house, where died Parson Ford, who makes so conspicuous a figure in Hogarth's Midnight Modern Conversation. The narrative is thus given in Boswell's Johnson by Croker:—

"Boswell. Was there not a story of Parson Ford's ghost having appeared?

"Johnson. Sir, it was believed. A waiter at the Hummums, in which house Ford died, had been absent for some time, and returned, not knowing that Ford was dead. Going down to the cellar, according to the story, he met him; going down again, he met him a second time. When he came up, he asked some people of the house what Ford could be doing there. They told him Ford was dead. The waiter took a fever, in which he lay for some time. When he recovered, he said he had a message to deliver to some woman from Ford; but he was not to tell what or to whom. He walked out; he was followed; but somewhere about St. Paul's they lost him. He came back and said he had delivered it, and the women exclaimed, 'Then we are all undone.' Dr. Pallet, who was not a credulous man, inquired into the truth of this story, and he said the evidence was irresistible. My wife went to the Hummums; (it is a place where people get themselves cupped.) I believe she went with intention to hear about this story of Ford. At first they were unwilling to tell her; but after they had talked to her, she came away satisfied that it was true. To be sure, the man had a fever; and this vision may have been the beginning of it. But if the message to the women, and their behaviour upon it, were true, as related, there was something supernatural. That rests upon his word, and there it remains."

John Timbs
Club Life of London Vol. II
London, 1866