Roll up! Roll up! Bearded ladies and strongmen in San Francisco! Watch the spooky movie trailer and see the horrors which lurk beneath Manchester. Read all about the most disturbing ghost story ever written! It’s all real! Click on any panel to be transported…
Posts Tagged With: underground
Trick or Treat
Under Big Ben
Emerging from one of the most impressive tube stations, deep beneath Westminster, we stood in the shadow of Big Ben and before long we were wandering off the beaten track, away from the tourists.
The Palace of Westminster is an impressive riot of Gothic fakery, every buttress and spire insisting on it’s medieval origins. The Houses of Parliament are a testament to the great Victorian illusion that the establishment was rather more established than it really was. But just behind the familiar sight of Big Ben is a quiet empty park free from coach parties and cameras.
I had no idea Victoria Tower Gardens were hidden behind the bustle of buses and mounted police. A single stone folly, the Buxton Memorial Fountain stands on the great stretch of green which runs parallel to the Thames.
Designed in 1865, the fountain has been moved, ransacked, and renovated. It’s original statues have been stolen, but it remains a monument to the abolition of slavery in The British Empire. (Although there are some clubs in Vauxhall where slavery is alive and well and something of a vocation!)
The metal spire is unusually colourful for the period and has more in common with Gaudi than the grim preserve of the Victorians.
Stone lions guard the fountain which used to spout drinking water under the beautiful vaulted marble roof.I can see the place is more suited to a Vogue fashion shoot now, than the pomp and pageantry of the past.
London fizzes with energy, so finding an oasis like this is a relief, even if the sun is hiding and May feels more like November.
“Hello? London? Big Ben? Sovereign’s Entrance? Are you avin a larf?”
This is why I love London. You can wander just a few yards and the scenery around you is transformed, from Nu Industrial Deco to Gothic Revival in a matter of seconds. I think I made the first one up, but the Capital is alive with hidden wonders, and taking a wrong turn is the thing to do.
“When the torches came back on there were real screams…”
They say that Catholics were chased into the tunnels beneath Manchester and murdered, hundreds of years ago. Last Halloween, we went on a tour of the tunnels under the city centre, which turned into a kind of grown up ghost train…
We experienced total darkness when we all turned our torches off, because there is no light down there. At this point, in a vast cave with a vaulted ceiling, we were encouraged to engage in a round of primal screaming. The effect was chilling, followed by a lot of nervous laughter. When the torches came back on there were real screams: someone had stumbled over a human skeleton, and further along in an air raid tunnel, what appeared to be a half-rotten corpse was slumped against a wall. In the darkness and confusion, it took a few moments to work out that these were dummies, courtesy of someone’s twisted sense of fun. We kept telling ourselves that as we shone our trembling torches over walls adorned with ancient head-counts from the second world war and strict Victorian posters.
Families sheltered here, shielding their children from German bombs. In Victorian times, immigrant workers were forced to live in the dark, dripping caverns. On the walls you can see ancient graffiti, the cave paintings of recent history. Fascinating, frightening and fun at the same time. Give the tour a go: if you’re curious about the strata of a city built in layers on top of itself, or if you crave sensory deprivation and a change of trousers.
Watch the movie if you dare! 1min30seconds with flashing images…
This clip was made with an iMovie trailer-template.