What does Frankenstein mean to you? This revolutionary gothic sci-fi novel, written by Mary Shelley is well known through modern adaptations that portray the monster as a big green hulking mass. However, the truth of the monster lies further away from an ugly mess and closer to us: humans. Chris Harris was intrigued by the origins of this myth and created a work of art dedicated to Shelley and her work. Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein promises an eerie experience, with spooky escape rooms and haunted cellars. However, it also portrays a glimpse into the life of the author behind the famous work, highlighting her struggles and genius. Unifresher was given the pleasure of being shown around, so read on for a taste of the experience!
The beautiful building is located on Gay Street in Bath, just doors down from the Jane Austen Centre. The architecture convincingly transports you to the time period of Mary Shelley’s life. To greet you, the House staff are in gothic costumes, including a mourning widow and a crazed scientist. The dimly lit hallway you enter sets the gothic atmosphere fitting to Frankenstein. Set artists and designers have put the utmost care into every detail: from smells in the room to cracks in the wall. It creates an authentic feel of the life Mary Shelley lived.
Taking the stairs, there are several rooms dedicated to showing Mary’s life. Shelley underwent many tragedies, and was often in a state of poverty, around the conception of Frankenstein. The House does not shy away from her story, telling it in rich detail and reminding us of this brilliant figure. A writer revolutionary in her own right, her personal struggles were always compounded with struggles faced because of her gender. This House has successfully shone a light on her story, celebrating her and her works as she always deserved. You can explore her story, starting from her birth and mother’s death (Mary Wollstonecraft – often referred to as the first modern feminist due to her work: A Vindication of Women’s Rights), to her death at age fifty-three.
Heading further upstairs, we approach a screening room, showing the first silent film adaptation of Frankenstein. This is your opportunity to sit down and truly appreciate early gothic films (and have a few laughs: the silent acting can be very melodramatic). There is also a room dedicated to Frankenstein’s depiction in modern culture, whether that’s in recent comics or as a bobblehead. The biggest masterpiece, however, is Frankenstein. Towering at eight feet tall, the hyper-realistic figure captivates your gaze with his wandering eyes. True to the original description, Frankenstein does not have green skin, but instead a distortedly perfect profile. They have also incorporated a breathing mechanism leading to a subtle, yet creepy effect. It’s definitely an attraction to see.
And finally, the cellar. Don’t head down unless you’ve got a strong disposition. Completely dark, the door slams behind you leaving you to explore the lair of the mad scientist. Watch out for ghostly characters and human body parts though: each corner has its own murderous secret!
Bloody Mary Bar
If you want to book this place for a birthday, hen night or any other festive occasion it also comes with a bar! Definitely check it out for a themed night out of fun.
The attraction was huge fun, and it was great learning more about one of the most influential women in recent literary history. If you love literature, history, anything spooky or just want an exciting new experience, definitely check it out! For more ideas for a day out in Bath and Bristol, check out this article.