Literary Haunts and Historical Chills
23 intrepid members of the Literary Society enjoyed a trip to London towards the end of last term for our annual LitSoc Gothic Tour. After dropping our bags off at the ‘Purple Palace’ and adding many (many) layers, our first stop was Westminster Abbey. Armed with maps and guides, we worked our way around the Abbey, visiting the Coronation Chair and the Lady Chapel, and creating our own ‘Pose Like Rob’ at Poets’ Corner. It was wonderful to stand among some of our favourite writers and discuss the impact they have had on the Literary landscape.
Gothic fear really ramped up at the London Dungeons, exploring historical horrors from The Gunpowder Plot to Jack the Ripper. Just before heading home, we had a ‘Terrence-ifying’ trip on the Ghost Bus, where ‘Terrence the Tour Guide’ showed us London’s hidden gothic secrets. One pupil exclaimed, “I’ve never screamed so much in my life”.
It wouldn’t be the LitSoc trip without a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe. We enjoyed a VIP backstage tour of the wooden ‘O’, as well as enjoying a glimpse of play rehearsals taking place on the famous stage. Coffee and hot chocolates were enjoyed in Foyles’ Bookshop as well as exploring all seven floors, filled with books!
Gloves, scarves and takeaway hot drinks were needed for our Jack the Ripper Tour. For two hours we walked in the footsteps of the Ripper himself and explored the lives of his victims and the impact the infamous case had on London. Guided by our ‘Ripperologist’, we leafed through newspaper articles and letters and debated how the case remains unsolved. Another pupil commented, “It was so interesting to reveal a different viewpoint to the Jack the Ripper case.”
Highgate Cemetery was our final stop, allowing pupils to admire the gothic architecture and pause for a moment of reflection at the graveside of Christina Rossetti, an A Level and LitSoc favourite. With our very knowledgeable guide, we explored the cemetery including the 70 metre catacombs and the friendly face of Nero the Lion.
We would like to thank the pupils for their enthusiasm and good humour during the trip, and we look forward to exploring more gothic texts during our weekly sessions. Below we have included some quotes from pupils about Litsoc and their Gothic London Tour.
“LitSoc is the best part of the week.”
“Even when life is busy and stressful, keep calm and go to LitSoc.”
“The LitSoc trip was the highlight of my year.”
“LitSoc is educational and exciting – it’s also really helpful for my English Literature A level”
Mrs Bond, Second in English and Mrs Vincent, Teacher of English