Is London's Crime Museum About To Open?

Christopher Fowler
Scotland Yard's Black Museum, which has been renamed the Crime Museum after complaints from officers in areas with large ethnic minority populations, has been one of the world's most macabre and inaccessible museums for well over a century, acquiring infamy among hardcore Londonphiles. It is, by all accounts, a profoundly depressing experience. The museum is closed to the public but, after repeated requests, our hapless mayor Boris Johnson is rumoured to be considering requests to open it to the public. The problem with this has always been the idea that murder should not be treated as a public spectacle or glamorised - which is a bit rich coming from a country where public loggings and hangings were regarded as social events. When I was a kid, I loved visiting the Chamber of Horrors, which had the acid bath from the 'Brides In The Bath' murders and other ghastlies - now the thought of going to Madame Tussauds to see dead-eyed statues of people who've been on Big Brother fills me with the same feelings of revulsion and horror. Watch this space.
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Crime Museum


Andy (not verified) Tue, 10/08/2010 - 12:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And here's me thinking you were going to tell us that was the wall behind the desk in your office. This is good news, I'm one of the London museum community and I haven't managed to wrangle a visit here yet. London's police need a museum, indeed the Met were going to get one in the old Bow Street building until the plug was pulled (there's a book, "The Missing Museum", by Andrew Thorburn which tells the whole sorry story).

The museum where I used to work in Wiltshire once turned up the preserved arm and hand of the last person hanged at the Westbury gibbet during a library cleanout. That was sent to the Black, sorry, CRIME Museum, nice to know if they have it on display.

Helen Martin (not verified) Wed, 18/08/2010 - 16:02

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

How did that Wiltshire museum GET the arm? Why would they send it anywhere instead of burying or burning it? Did the -um- Crime Museum actually accept it? Perhaps they buried it. Is Scotland Yard actually a division of the Metropolitan Police? How does it fit with the police departments elsewhere in the country? Huh? Huh? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Andy (not verified) Mon, 23/08/2010 - 14:52

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

No, no, it was the last person hung at a gibbet actually during a library cleanout. The poor guy didn't put the books back on the shelf in dewey decimal order and, well, our librarian was vicious like that.