The London Dungeon is a tourist attraction, based in
Tooley Street, London, near London Bridge rail station about various tortures from the Medieval Age. It recreates various gory and macabrehistorical events in a style, which attempts to make them appealing to the younger generation. It uses a mixture of live actors, special effects and rides.
It opened in 1976, initially designed as more of a museum of "horrible history", but the Dungeon has evolved to become an actor-led, interactive experience that draws visitors from far and wide. The Dungeon is operated by
This theme is featured throughout the dungeons experience. Before the first official attraction (
Labyrinthof the Lost), there are various bloody models of torture. About half way through the dungeons experience there is a comic-type show in which a person is called up and different types of torture equipment are demonstrated on them. Visitors are then taken to a courtroom in which three of them are called up for committing weird crimes such as "unnatural crimes with animals". The judge sentences all to death by hanging.
Labyrinth of the Lost
A large mirror maze is themed around the
cryptof All Hallows Church in London. A live actor playing the grounds keeper tells visitors of the crypt and then are led into the maze and left to wander, seeing reflections of themselves everywhere. Actors in period costume jump out unexpectedly, until the visitors are finally led out and taken to the era of the Great Plague.
The Great Plague
This show is set in 1665 during the
Great Plague of London, and London is depicted as riddled with bubonic plague, with thousands dying in agony. Disgusting smells are present in this exhibit, with recorded cries of panic and pain and shouts to "bring out the dead". Visitors are taken into a secret treatment room and are told of ways people tried to cure the plague. Actors portraying death collectors wander through, piling up the decaying bodies, with other actors made up to appear as decayed and vomiting plague sufferers. At the end of the plague section, we see a doctor who (comically) tries to operate on a dead body: pulling out the intestines; the bladder, which squirts supposed urineat the audience; and finally the heart. Then, we hear a recorded moaning sound and suddenly the dead man the doctor was operating on mechanically sits up extremely quickly and screams (which provokes the 'jump' effect). The doctor then rushes everybody out of the room.
Traitor: Boat Ride to Hell
After being sentenced to death by the courtroom judge visitors are taken to an execution dock. The show is a boat ride, themed to replicate the last journey through
Traitors' Gateinto the Tower of London. The ride is in almost total darkness and sound effects are included to try to make visitors more scared and jumpy. After going along in the dark for a while, the boat ride rotates, and then you plumment backwards down a hill and to a sudden stop.
This show is in almost complete darkness, and visitors are given no idea of what is about to happen. After walking past Mrs. Lovetts pie shop they enter Sweeney's barber shop which is filled with seats. At the front is a chair with a covered up bloody model supposedly from having his throat cut. Visitors are seated in
animatronic"barbers' chairs", and special effects are used to try to make them feel as if Sweeney Toddwere right behind them, giving them a very close shave. Afterwards the chair is pulled back, as if falling into a cellar (which is what Sweeney would do with his victims). Sweeney Todd was a (fictional) barber, sometimes known as "The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street", and slit the throats of his customers with his razors, supposedly giving the carcasses to Mrs. Lovett to be baked into large pies.Sweeney Todd is a movie with full interesting facts about terrible deeds done by the "barber"
Jack the Ripper
This is an exhibit based on the gruesome
serial killings of five prostitutes in Whitechapel, in the year 1888. Visitors are taken to a recreated Buck's Row where they are told of the first three murders. Visitors then walk through a corridor filled with models of the ast three victim's bodies, with their intestines pulled out and their throats cut. They are then shown a series of images and animations with narration about the last two murders. They are then taken through to a recreated mortuary and are shown another film, presenting a series of ripper suspects. As the narrator calls out the names of the Ripper suspects, a loud, evil laugh is heard and a panel opens in the wall to reveal a fire-machine, which shoots a random flame of fire at the audience. The live actor then tells everybody to get out of the room. Visitors then walk down some steps under a model of a man about to be hung. A banner reads: "What "would" have happenened to Jack?". Visitors then enter a dark room with nohing in it but a walled pit with some sand bags and animatronic rats in at the centre of the room. A recording of a man breathing heavily and a heart beat plays when suddenly the ceiling opens and a model of Jack the Ripper comes through (as if being hung above the room). In February 2008, a new Ripper exhibit opened (replacing the hanging pit) which is set in Ten Bells pub in Spittafields. It is set 10 years after the murders in 1898 and the barman talks of the Ripper. The lantern set on the bar starts to move around on its own accord when the lights flicker and black out. All the curtains are blown in by a huge amount of compressed air as a strobe light shows Jack wielding his knife at you. He disappears without a trace before the lights turn back on.
Great Fire of London
This exhibit is set in the year 1666, when much of London burnt to the ground in the relentless
Great Fire of Londonthat started down in Pudding Lane, from the Royal bakery. Visitors are shown a short educational film in a themed 17th century courtyard before the fire reaches them and then have to 'escape' through a London street with burning houses everywhere. There are various curtains being blown by fans and lit in a red light to look like fire in the windows, as well as models of mothers holding their babies out the window and recorded calls for help in this section. After that, visitors walk through a revolving tunnel lit by various red and yellow lights to disorientate visitors into thinking they're in the fire.
Extremis: Drop Ride to Doom
This feature opened at the end of March 2007. Treated just as if they are a criminal sent to hang at
Newgate Prison, visitors are taken from a holding cell and sat in a seat which elevates to the top of the Dungeon. There, they see models of judges and an executioner reading the charges against them, when the noosedrops in front of their face, and as the hangman pulls the gallowslever they suddenly drop towards the ground in the dark. Cameras are mounted in the walls to take photos of visitors as they drop (which are available for purchase at the end of the tour).
Hamburg Dungeon, York Dungeonand The EdinburghDungeon are all affiliated with The London Dungeon. In 2005 a new location opened in Amsterdam, called The Amsterdam Dungeon. A Dungeon will be built in the amusement park Gardalandin Italy.
More recently, the London Bridge Experience, located less than two minutes away from The London Dungeons, was opened. Although featuring some similar themes, this attraction is not affiliated with the Dungeons.
* [http://www.thedungeons.com/en/london-dungeon/index.html The London Dungeon] (site includes other attractions run by the same company)
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