On the surface
London history seems like it’s paved with gold but
step down the side streets and you’ll find a very
History buffs and brave youngsters will delight in the
altogether more gruesome aspects of London history and
there are plenty of museums that bring it horrifyingly
To see the painful history of torture come to life before
your eyes visit The London Dungeons [map],
Tooley Street, SE1. Set deep in the heart of the capital
and buried beneath the paving stones of Southwark lies
one of the world’s most chilling horror attractions.
Definitely not for the faint hearted or young children
The London Dungeons has become an essential part of the
tourist trail and thousands of people from across the
world flock here to experience more than 2,000 years of
guts and gore.
Exhibitions include The Traitor – which is a terrifying
boat ride through darkness to an uncertain fate –
and The Wicked Women exhibition, which features some of
London’s most notorious and murderous females.
Drudging up every deadly detail you’ll take a horrible
journey through the years of the Roman Invasion to the
Black Death ably assisted by some of London’s most
On a similar note The Chamber at Madame Tussauds [map] on Marylebone Road is again for those with nerves
of steel. Focusing on serial killers and other murderers
this exhibition at the ever-popular Madame Tussauds brings
some of the more frightening wax works to life. Listen
to the screams and manic laughter as you make your way
through this exhibition, if you dare.
Of course, you didn’t necessarily have to commit
a crime to be horribly tortured. In fact, sometimes all
it took was an accident or an illness for you to end up
on an operating theatre table looking up at a range of
The Old Operating Theatre Museum [map],
St Thomas Street, SE1, is the oldest of its kind in Britain.
Dating back to 1815 this theatre, complete with large
auditorium for audiences to watch the action, provides
a fascinating glimpse into the beginnings of surgery.
Anaesthetic wasn’t introduced into surgery until
1847 and so patients were at the mercy of surgeons with
only alcohol and nerves of steel to prevent the excruciating
pain of having a limb or organ removed. Patients comfort
was probably not helped by the fainting and gasping of
the audience around them.
This museum attached to the theatre charts the painful
history of surgery from its very beginnings to the ultra
state-of-the-art techniques we are lucky enough to have
access to today.
The Imperial War Museum [map] is a sombre reminder of all the conflicts that Britain
and the Commonwealth has been involved in from the World
War I to the present day.
Changing exhibitions include The Great Escape charting
some of the incredible escape attempts made by Allied
servicemen from German prisoner of war caps during the
World War II and family events including Do Touch The
Exhibitions which encourages children to use all of their
senses in understanding war and conflict. The Imperial
War Museum is located at Lambeth Road, SE1.
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