Opening Reception of The Crime Museum at the Museum of London

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Last week I attended the opening of the Crime Museum at the Museum of London.

The Crime Museum is based on the Metropolitan Police's Black Museum which was set up in the 1870s. The Black Museum is basically the Met's archive...only Police Officers have had access in the past, but now you can visit the Museum of London (MOL) and see what has been behind closed doors!

We were greeted on the evening by more than a few police officer (I do love a uniform)! The MOL provided each police department with two tickets, so there were plenty of police men and women among the guests as well as on guard/display (!) outside!

We paused for a glass of champagne and then headed straight into the exhibition. 

No photos were allowed inside, so I'll just give you a written review! The exhibition is really well laid out and is massive! It was quite busy on the night, but if you went at another time it would probably be easier to navigate.

The first room was the oldest items and included Death Masks from offenders outside Newgate Prison. Back in the 1840s a mask of each person who had been hung was made as there weren't the facilities to photograph them and make a record. Also in this room were a number of items which had belonged to the offenders before they were executed. One item of evidence was the gun which Edward Oxford had fired at Queen Victoria in 1840.

One area which was quite disturbing/interesting (depending on how you see it!) was the case which displayed all the ropes used for the hangings of various offenders. 

The next room was more modern (1900s) and went into more specific stories about various offenders and the evidence which had been found to convict them. 

This included some really interesting items and was my favourite area of the exhibition. For example, The Krays suitcase which contained poison and a syringe. Gloves which belonged to the Acid Bath Murderer, John Haigh - a crime which was actually committed in my home town! 

And then more modern items - like cans and bottles which using finger prints and forensic evidence helped commit the criminals involved in the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

The last section was modern day and included items from the July London bombings and had some replica rucksack bombs. This area felt a little close to home.

Finally we watched a video to learn about how the Crime Museum and the Museum of London relationship came about. It was interesting to hear about all the hoops that needed to be jumped through in terms of confidentiality and also the fact that the Crime Museum is not meant to glamorise crime...which I didn't feel it did.

We went on to enjoy speeches, canapes and drinks!

I've been looking forward to the Crime Museum opening for six months (since I first heard about it) and I'm so glad I got to go to the Opening Reception.

I really recommend a visit, its one of the most interesting exhibitions I've ever seen!

The exhibition is open from 9th October 2015 to 10th April 2016.

If you book your tickets online you get a discount - as well as being guaranteed entrance as I imagine it will be busy on weekends!


  1. Wow, this sounds really interesting. I have a weird fascination with death masks... I'm always googling them for some strange reason ;)


Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs