Complete Lunacy or Medical Madness?
Phil Hopkins, Arts & Travel Editor
Tick Tock Unlock
When you are advised to set your alarm at some ungodly hour there’s always a little voice barking in your head: “Are you mad Hopkins?”
The experience attracts even greater internal derision when you are reminded that your actions are both voluntary and in the name of entertainment!
As to the question of madness, my personal answer came quickly after heading into Leeds and positioning myself outside ‘Cycle Point’, just across from the railway station’s main exit doors.
It was 9am and me and two others were due to be met by a representative from Tick Tock Unlock, the first ever, and certainly one of the largest, ‘escape’ games in the city.
We had agreed to take part in one of their challenges: being locked into a padded cell area with the promise of freedom within 60 minutes providing we could successfully negotiate a series of cryptic clues, and every conceivable padlock type known to man.
However, our Game Master, who arrived minutes later, was not some Riff Raff throwback from the Rocky Horror Show, but the smiling Amy complete with brolly to keep the morning rain away!
She took us on a brisk five-minute walk to the Thornhill Asylum located, rather conveniently, just yards away in the Dark Arches. Apparently Tick Tock Unlock have taken to meeting their victims, sorry clients, outside Cycle Point, because this particular ‘secret location’ (there are others in Leeds), was proving just a bit too secret for people to find!
Nevertheless, for the not-so-faint-hearted, Tick Tock Unlock promises you an hour’s fun experience laced with plenty of ghost train moments (don’t forget to take clean underwear), and conundrums requiring of the most qualified pub quiz brain.
Did we escape? Despite many clues from our genial host – there’s a flashing digital screen to aid the most clueless of participants – we were still 60 seconds adrift from complete freedom. However, they did let us out and, once I had described the morning’s activities to my brother, he confirmed my worst fears: “You’re a nutter getting up at that time. You need locking up!” Quite.
For further details, the latest games and ticket information, visit the Tick Tock Unlock website here.
Thackray Medical Museum
Continuing the morning’s theme we headed to another Hidden Gem, the amazing, but this time very real, Thackray Medical Museum, located just across town next to St James’s Hospital.
The original inspiration of Paul Thackray, grandson of Charles Frederick Thackray, founder of the international medical supply company, Leeds based Chas. F. Thackray, it opened in the late 90’s and tells the story of medicine. In 1998 it won "Museum of the Year" whilst in 2004 snaffling both the "Excellence in England Small Tourist Attraction of the Year" and the "Sandford Award for Heritage Education.
This is a truly magnificent little museum and well worth a visit, but I can’t help saying that it is just a little macabre, leaving you with a lingering fear of injury in the false belief that some of the nineteenth century implements on display may just be brought out of retirement to give one of your limbs a new lease of life!
Everything you see happened and Thackray’s beautifully chronicles the history of medical breakthroughs, making you realise how far man has come in the repair of that most frail of vessels, the human body.
Skin graft machines, artificial limbs and early examples of false teeth and the dental art, live cheek by jowl as living proof as to how far we’ve come. There’s refreshments on offer, a great educational area for kids and you can even park, now that is a breakthrough in Leeds! At £8 a head for adults and £5 for children aged from 5-16, well worth a visit.
For more details on planning your visit click here.
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Complete Lunacy or Medical Madness?, 6th February 2018, 22:03 PM