"Not another sodding app that promises to reveal the 'secret' or 'hidden' side of London," we sighed upon first hearing about this new iPhone download. But Black Plaques London is different from other map-and-pin guides, for several reasons. Let us count the ways:
- The focus is on weird, notorious, macabre or creepy London (hence, black plaques), offering content that stands out from the well-trodden norm.
- The choice of stories throws up some genuine surprises. Did you hear the one about the Albany Street resident who ate the heart of a king, as well as a decomposing leopard and a plate of bluebottles? Who knew that a suicide was buried beneath what is now Old Street roundabout? And why was a sack of kittens set on fire at Marble Arch? All good, horrible stuff.
- The app uses augmented reality to place gory photos of Ripper victims on the sites of their deaths, a virtual Elephant Man on Whitechapel Road, and a burning heretic outside Westminster Abbey. Classy.
- It's handsomely put together with judicious use of images and well-researched text.
You can get Black Plaques London now for iPhone and iPad for £1.49.