End of an era: The London Dungeon

The London Dungeon is moving.

What? They can move dungeons now? Apparently so.

The old Tooley Street venue, famed for its crumbling, rumbling arches (situated beneath London Bridge railway station) and dank, dripping alcoves is to be dropped in favour of new premises further along the river near to the London Eye. It will be interesting to see if the new locale will try to emulate the atmosfear (pun intended) of the old, or create the shock of something new.

The Tooley Street Dungeon holds a special place in my heart and many fond memories – I worked there for a few years back in the early 90s, made many friends and frightened a lot of people. Yes, my weekend job as a student was jumping out on tourists and scaring them half to death (a fainting meant it was time for lunch – job done) which really was as much fun as it sounds.

I impersonated Michael Jackson there once, following a rumour he was going to visit (these were much thinner days you understand) and I was chased down Tooley Street by rabid paparazzi screaming “Michael!” I even waved a single white-gloved hand at them from the upstairs window before the ruse was up – he’d gone to Hamley’s instead. I also secured my first ever runner’s job following a video shoot at the Dungeon, and had several fanboy moments meeting the likes of Robert Englund, Tom Baker and James Herbert who were just some of the stars being filmed/interviewed among the torture implements.

Now, thanks to the move, you can own a piece of this unique horror history. The Dungeon is holding a car boot sale in Pimlico on Feb 3rd, so if you fancy bagging some thumbscrews or a scold’s bridle of your very own you know where to go.

I recall a time during my tenure at the Dungeon when several old exhibits were to be consigned to the scrapheap. I rescued one – the curvy, blood-drenched form of Countess Elizabetha Bathory herself – took her home in a cab

“guess who i had in the back o’ my cab last night? only bleeding Countess Dracula! nah, she didn’t tip”

and placed her at the foot of my bed where i could keep an eye on her. And there she stayed, until I – like the Dungeon today – moved house… and discovered she was full of cockroaches.

Ghastly.

RIP London Dungeon, here’s wishing you an equally ghastly afterlife (hopefully for the right reasons).

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About frazerlee

writer/director: On Edge, Red Lines, The Stay. screenwriter: Simone, Panic Button. bram stoker award nominated author: The Lamplighters, The Lucifer Glass, The Jack in the Green. http://www.frazerlee.com

Posted on January 22, 2013, in personal post, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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