PRINCE Charles has visited Dorset to open a new dungeon attraction at his Poundbury development in Dorchester.
Poundbury is the Prince’s vision of what an ideal town should look like and the result has a strong Georgian flavour, but the Royal scourge of British architecture came in for a bit of a whipping himself when he completed his first building on the site, a fire station.
That was described by one national newspaper as “the Parthenon meets Brookside” and “architectural dabbling of the worst kind”.
Since then the gloves have come off with previously wary critics increasingly vocal in their dismay including comments that Poundbury is “a mish mash of styles from different centuries”, “a toy town” and “a museum of a mythical past”.
But some of the Prince’s most vocal critics have nothing but praise for his latest Poundbury attraction, an historical dungeon built with Portland Stone and painstaking attention to detail so it includes all the main instruments of torture from centuries of English history.
This may have something to do with the fact that those same critics have been arrested and locked up in the dungeon as part of the attraction!
They feature prominently in the daily charity demonstrations of the rack at 11am and 3pm when members of the public can donate coins by dropping them in to a tub which slowly tightens chains attached to the critic’s wrists and ankles. The Prince said that whether such donations were true charity might be “stretching a point” but “hey, one’s charity is one’s charity”.
Another popular feature is the Iron Maiden (Castle), a special local version of this gruesome torture mechanism designed by Prince Charles himself.
He drew on personal knowledge of incidents where he felt critics had stabbed him in the back to come up with this mechanism which can stab a critic in the back and the front at the same time.
Equally fiendish is the Sobbing Room, an open-barred four-sided cell surrounded by four white walls on which are projected never-ending slideshows of Poundbury.
Among critics to lavish praise on Prince Charles’ latest creation was Algernon Forbes-Farquhar, now stretched to an impressive 11ft 2ins, who felt it was “an honour and a privilege” to play a small role in such “a colossus of architecture” and could someone please notify his tailor that all his suits needed letting out.
Agnatha Peabody was equally effusive in her praise, citing the dungeon as the finest Royal-designed building she had ever been incarcerated in, a trifle minimalist perhaps but with clear overtones of caementum. She is currently serving 17 years for excessive use of critical adjectives.
Early figures show that the Poundbury dungeon has raised more than £100,000 for Prince Charles’ new charity, the Happy Valley Family Home for Critics Pie Company.