The long and sometimes violent history of London town has led to a number of locations that are associated with torture and plenty of accompanying gruesome tales. So if you are one of those who get a kick (pun intended) out being scared, here is a rough guide to a few of the more (in) famous houses of pain.
The London Dungeon
Take a scary address, dress it up with props and gimmicks and populate it with actors and you have the London Dungeon – a made to order ‘scare the pants off you’ tourist attraction – that is rather popular.
The Dungeon initially opened as a “horrible history” museum but it has since become an interactive, special effects experience that reprises grisly events from the city’s past. The experience is liberally interspersed with “gallows humour.” The tour is very interactive with visitors chosen to participate in the events of the different segments.
The world famous wax-works museum has a section called the Chamber of Horrors and Scream. It houses such exhibits as the original guillotine blade that separated Marie Antoinette from her head. The section also has a live-action, actor-led scare maze.
This old and infamous prison gave rise to the English slang word meaning prison. Built in 1144 its entrance is an unremarkable if ominous grey gate on dingy street. Great setting, even if it is unintended.
Named, possibly, for the scary sounds of chains the prison was notorious for what went on. There was a busy well-used whipping post and The Cage. The prisoners were badly treated and the gaolers carried out a thriving prostitution business renting out the cells, beds and candles.
It was burnt down by rioters in 1780 and never used again. It is now a museum realistically recreating its original conditions.
The Tower Of London
The Tower and its precincts have a long and somewhat gory past. The most famous of English castles, it has been at the heart of English history since it was first built by William the Conqueror to awe the natives.
Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack in later periods. That however did not stop it being used for torture and other heinous acts.
The most famous instrument housed and regularly used in the Tower was known as ‘Little Ease,’ which was a small cell. So small that a man could not stand up in it, or lie down. Prisoners were forced to crouch or sit huddled up for hours, days or even a week.