called The George and built around 1693 there are many strange
tales surrounding this pub. Now called D.Lafferty & Son (although
it is believed the pub may soon revert to its original name)
this was once the most famous coaching inn in Derby. The 'George
Skull' on display in the pub is a female human skull that has
a damaged cranium. It was discovered by workmen in a pit below
the cellar floor together with animal bones and skulls, plus
old shoes and pieces of leather.
Forensic tests at Nottingham indicated a great age and the mystery
is how, or why, the skull and not the rest of the skeleton came
to be in the pit. As the pub stands near the corner of Iron Gate
(where blacksmiths traded) and Sadler Gate (where leather workers
traded) which is the heart of Viking Derby, it can perhaps explain
how the pieces of leather were discovered as it was usual for
the leather makers to throw any off cuts into a pit after the
hides had been stripped and tanned. An explanation for the animal
bones and skulls may be that they were from animals killed for
the leather makers. The enigma of the human skull and the damage
to the side of it remains unsolved.
The pub is undoubtably haunted as on a few occasions a long haired
man in a blue coat has been seen walking along the landing in
the middle of the night. When followed down to the bar he has
simply disappeared, although there was nowhere for him to go.
Staff have reported many odd experiences since the building work
and extension of the cellar has been completed including buckets
being thrown, crockery moving by itself, pint pots smashed, and
ghastly groans emanating from the cellar. There is also said
to be a ghost named Martha who frequently insists that her head
(the 'George Skull') be taken from the bar and reburied. As the
mysteries surrounding the skull continues to baffle all who seek
the answers we can only wonder - was she murdered and if so why?
Where is the rest of her skeleton? Is she the ghostly presence
behind all the strange happenings at the pub? What is known is
that 2 murders have actually taken place in the adjoining alley!