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COVID-19 restrictions have demanded a re-jig, but it’s (nearly) alive! Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein is beginning to twitch on the slab…

It is a little-known fact that Mary Shelley; poet, feminist icon, and conjurer of Gothic tales, wrote her masterpiece ‘Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus’, while living in Bath. Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, of Gay Street, seeks to unveil Shelley’s literary jewel in all its shimmering sublimity on the 19th July 2021.

Jonathan Willis has opened the door, just a crack, to us, letting us in on some of the features that lie within the five story Georgian house of horrors. 

There are rooms dedicated to Shelley’s interest in ‘phantasmagoria’. There are opium chambers, a nod of the head to Shelley and her contemporaries’ love of laudanum. Victor Frankenstein’s laboratory stands as described in the book. Though the attraction confronts some mature themes, there is something for everyone. The House of Frankenstein welcomes anyone over the age of 12.

‘One of our pièce-du-résistances is an 8ft animatronic creature from Millennium FX, London,’ says Jonathan, ‘we’re trying to avoid saying ‘monster’ because Mary Shelley never wrote ‘monster’, she just wrote creature.’

‘It’s the first time that the representation of Frankenstein has been reproduced to [Shelley’s] specification’. 

If so, we can expect a truly hideous creation: a plume of black hair, with taut yellowish skin barely disguising the ‘workings of the arteries and muscles underneath’, a face punctuated by black lips and ice-white teeth. What a thought.

‘I’m in awe’ says Jonathan of the creative team behind the House of Frankenstein. The team behind it have largely been sourced from The South West and have taken Jonathan’s breath away.

‘There are other elements that we want to include, but we’re going to have to do them outside of the venue… but they’ll come later’, says Jonathan.

‘Every year we want to have a Monster Ball’, he continues, ‘properly ‘Elton John’ dressed up’. He promises that numbers such as ‘The Monster Mash’ and hits from ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ will abound, summoning even the dreariest of ghouls to the dancefloor.

For more information and to book tickets, have a look at their official website:

Breaking Bath · Interview with Jonathan

Words by Jonathan R Parsonage