Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein Opens

Courtesy of Visit Bath

Last weekend, a new literary attraction debuted in Bath, England, that sounds incredibly cool: Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein.

“Immersive and multi-sensory,” the House of Frankenstein intends to wow its visitors with an experience that melds a Victorian horror house aesthetic—specimen jars, dark cellars—with informative exhibits— artwork, letters—that explore the author’s life as well as the literary and scientific ideas that inspired her novel, first published in 1818. There’s even an eight-foot-tall “faithful recreation” of her creature on display, bespoke scents in each room (!), and, in other nooks, vintage memorabilia and “bizarre collector items” flesh out Frankenstein’s influence in pop culture. For the more adventuresome, an escape room experience where you must free yourself from Victor’s lair is in the works.

Courtesy of Visit Bath

As many readers know, Shelley began writing Frankenstein on that famous trip to the Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva in the summer of 1816. What many don’t know is that she wrote the majority of her gothic masterpiece in Bath. Only three years ago, a plaque was installed outside the original structure (now gone) where Shelley lived and wrote during that time, reminding many people of the forgotten literary connection. Bath is no stranger to literary tourism—there is quite a bit of Jane Austen traffic in town, particularly during the annual Austen Festival—but this new addition may cement its place on the itinerary of many a bibliophile.  

An award-winning walking tour that traces Shelley’s steps through Bath would be a fine complement to a visit to the new House of Frankenstein, which is definitely on my must-see list during my next trip to England.