The Raven: A guide to the dark side of London
Feature by Jack Foley
TO celebrate the release of The Raven on DVD and Blu-ray from Universal Pictures (UK), a film inspired by the gruesome stories of renowned writer Edgar Allen Poe, the following travel guide highlights a darker side of London, allowing tourists or intrepid Londoners to visit locations steeped in a chilling history…
Whitechapel – the east London location of many of Jack the Ripper’s worst crimes.
The London Dungeons – a chance to see some of the gruesome practices that were common place during Victorian times, ranging from Bloody Mary’s punishment of non-believers, to the gruesome practices of the infamous Sweeney Todd.
The Tower Of London – See The Ravens (legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress), and the prisoners exhibition.
Highgate Cemetery – The most famous occupant in the cemetery is probably Karl Marx (whose tomb was the target of attempted bombings in 1965 and in 1970, acts which are still recalled by some Highgate residents).
Kensal Green Cemetery – Inspired by the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and founded in 1833 by the barrister George Frederick Carden, Kensal Green Cemetery comprises 72 acres of beautiful grounds including two conservation areas and an adjoining canal. Kensal Green Cemetery is home to 33 species of bird and other wildlife.
West Norwood Cemetery – The cemetery was founded by its own Act of Parliament of 1836 and consecrated for its first burials in 1837. It was also known as the South Metropolitan Cemetery. One of the first private landscaped cemeteries in London, it is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries of London, and is a site of major historical, architectural and ecological interest.
Abney Park Cemetery – In 1840, Abney Park opened as a model garden cemetery, a pioneering non-denominational place of rest. Its approach was based on the Congregational church’s role in the London Missionary Society (LMS), whose fundamental principle was to develop a wholly non-denominational exemplar. It also drew on American burial ideas, specifically Mount Auburn in Massachusetts. Abney Park is one of the Magnificent Seven London cemeteries.
Nunhead Cemetery – Consecrated in 1840, it is one of the Magnificent Seven Victorian cemeteries established in a ring around the outskirts of London. The first burial was Charles Abbott, a 101-year-old Ipswich grocer and the last, a volunteer soldier who became a canon of Lahore Cathedral. Nunhead Cemetery was consecrated in 1840 and opened by the London Necropolis Company. It is a Local Nature Reserve.
Brompton Cemetery – It is managed by The Royal Parks and is one of the Magnificent Seven. Established by Act of Parliament, it opened in 1840 and was originally known as the West of London and Westminster Cemetery. Brompton Cemetery, consecrated by the Bishop of London in June 1840, is one of the Britain’s oldest and most distinguished garden cemeteries. Beatrix Potter, who lived in The Boltons nearby, took the names of many of her animal characters from tombstones in the cemetery. Names on headstones included Mr. Nutkins, Mr. McGregor, a Tod, Jeremiah Fisher, Tommy Brock – and even a Peter Rabbett.
Tower Hamlets Cemetery – The cemetery opened in 1841 and closed for burials in 1966. It is now a nature reserve, and other land has been added to the park, including “Scrapyard Meadow”. It was originally named The City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery but was called Bow Cemetery by locals.
In The Raven, a mother and daughter are found brutally murdered in 19th century Baltimore, and Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) makes a startling discovery: the crime resembles a fictional murder described in gory detail in part of a collection of stories penned by struggling writer and social pariah Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack).
But even as Poe is questioned by police, another grisly murder occurs, also in the manner of a popular Poe story. Realising a serial killer is on the loose using Poe’s writings as the backdrop for his bloody rampage; Fields enlists the author’s help in unravelling the case…
© 2012 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
The Raven is released on Blu-ray & DVD on July 30, 2012.
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- John Cusack interview
- The Raven Photo Gallery
- Watch the trailer