A Visit To The Black Museum

The Black Museum

The Scotland Yard Crime Museum was founded in the 1870s, although it has only recently been opened to the public, its existence is well-known. Generally called the Black Museum, it is officially meant for training and instruction for the police themselves, but its exhibits certainly have something for the rest of us.

We see the death masks of 19th Century murderers, courtroom sketches, whole sections on well-known killers. One of the legendary on double murderer Charlie Peace, another, inevitably, on Jack the Ripper, including Commissioner Anderson’s memoirs in which he names the killer in a footnote. In the same room, there are items about two other suspects: Frederick Deeming and George Chapman – both of them serial killers in their own right.

We see the legendary Tichborne Claimant, with a supporting tract, execution ropes from the 19th Century, including that used on the unspeakable “baby farmer” Amelia Dyer, and go on to more exhibits about well-known 20th Century cases such as the 1911 Sidney Street siege, including a photo purportedly of Peter the Painter, Edith Thompson, serial John Reginard Halliday Christie, acid bath murderer Haigh, the moronic Derek Bentley, the Great Train Robbers, the Krays, and the Richardsons. We see the things they used, the things used to catch them, and a mass of press cuttings.

A suggestion – there’s only a selection of exhibits here. Why not turn the whole museum into a permanent one, charge admission, and raise much needed funds for the police? The current admission is £12.50, ghoulishly well spent.

About the author

Mark Taha