Carrying on my ‘life list’ exercises, this one is about appreciating where I’ve been. Today I’m sharing some creepy cool and locations I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, many of which weren’t readily accessible to the public while others boast a secret double life on film. How many have you seen?
The Cambridge University Museum of Zoology – I once had the pleasure of being the sole visitor and the museum was all mine. I sneaked snaps of the skeletons. Darwin’s own collection of annotated beetles and finches are here, as well as some of the most amazing whale skeletons. It’s my favourite natural history museum.Currently closed for refurbishment, to reopen in 2016
Scroll room library Royal Courts of Justice – The scroll room is part of the law libraries, but now scroll-less the cage contraptions for stacking them seem creepy and curious. This lofty space affords a rare view of the Thames and I’ve even been in one of the Royal Court of Justice’s great halls for dinner.
The Body Lift, defunct Anatomy rooms (now converted) & The Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Kings College London – The Strand Campus of KCL is a curious place where lots of buildings have become conjoined over time. At the core is the Main Building which originally housed the medical school. The original wooden lecture theatre often moonlights as a filming location.But the old empty anatomy rooms with their huge sinks, and the extra wide lift for getting the bodies there on gurneys totally gave me the creeps.
WB Yeats London Apartment – Ok, this one isn’t creepy but rather lovely. Woburn walk is a very characterful, Victorian street in north London where I worked in converted office space that had once been part of WB Yeats flat. (Our meeting room was dubbed the Yeats Room). The street often features as a filming location, and Pratchett’s Hogfather was filmed while I worked there.
Subterranean tunnels of Southwark – I went to London’s first Secret Cinema event ‘Nosferatu’ in the cavernous SeOne nightclub. And in the tunnels under London Bridge I attended an interactive Tristan and Isolde performance with the audience dressed as monks. Totally atmospheric!
The Pit Theatre & exit tunnels of The Barbican Centre– I’ve been all over this fabulous warren like building from the conference rooms to the cinemas, the Galleries to the Conservatory gardens. I’ve even experienced the expansive backstage of the Musical Hall, with its countless dressing rooms. I have so many fond memories of this complex, but the honour of creepiest spot goes to the basement level Pit Theatre, named for the dug out plague pit that the theater was built over!
The Bank vault underneath the Craft Cottage Derry– The Craft Village boasts a beautifully recreated traditional cottage but it’s only a couple of decades old. What most folk don’t know is that it stands on the site of onethe walled city’s earliest banks. Under the cottage remains two underground rooms with huge metal vault doors, and bizarrely for a spell this weird underground space was my work ‘office’. I was scared to be behind the heavy vault doors!
The Christchurch Studios Bristol – Once a major BBC recording studio, it is now owned and operated by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and still provides sound recording services to famous clients (e.g Massive Attack and TV shows like Dr.Who)! It has a fantastic 70’s vibe interior and I was fascinated with the on site audio effects like the ‘dead room’, the gravel pit, the acoustic trap (for faking distance) and of course the echo-y underground cellar.
Aldwych/Strand Abandoned London Underground Station – I was lucky enough to experience this abandoned tube station when it hosted a student art exhibition/installation. Only defunct since 1994, Aldwych has been a movie location many times. (I was excited to recognize it in V for Vendetta).
The Gordon Museum– tucked away on campus of Guys Teaching Hospital is the largest pathology museum in the UK filled with medical specimens, tools and instruments, wax anatomy sculptures and paintings of tumour patients. Beware the things there that can not be unseen (like jars of deformed fetuses). Click the link and expand the thumbnail video if you’re intrigued.
Compiling this list made me super nostalgic, I’d access to many of these places owing to my jobs at the time and London in particular was such a fun place to work. It seems I’m compelled in my life to find ways into buildings that intrigue me. I love gothic museums but it hadn’t occurred to me how much I’m attracted to secret under ground tunnels! (What a weirdo!) Happy Halloween readers, what would be on your list of cool locations you’ve seen?