Almost 600 never before seen artifacts and evidence from some of Britain’s most notorious crimes are about to go on display in a special exhibition. Items from Scotland Yard’s “Black Museum” will be on display for the first time since the museum was started in 1875. The items are normally kept behind closed doors and available only to student detectives, police officials and selected guests, including King George V and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Exhibits will include evidence from the country’s most infamous serial killers, most notably the police notes written up by detectives working on the Jack the Ripper case which identify Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski as the main suspect, the gloves worn by John Haigh (whose weapon of choice was sulfuric acid) and objects owned by Dr. Crippen who was hanged for the murder of his wife. Items once belonging to the violent Kray brothers will also be on display.
But it’s not all serial killer paraphernalia. “What we do not want is something that’s a kind of macabre police version of going to the London Dungeon. That is not what this is about,” London police assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt said. The exhibition will also showcase historical items, from the pistol used in an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria in 1840 and an unexploded bomb planted by Irish nationalists at the Paddington Train Station in 1884, to champagne and wine bottles seized from the gang behind the Great Train Robbery of 1963. The exhibition will also show some key items from cases that changed British policing, such as the stocking masks for two brothers who were hanged after becoming the first criminals in Britain to be convicted on fingerprint evidence.
Having said that, the exhibition will also contain macabre items such as death masks from executed prisoners, ropes that were used in hangings and a couple of severed arms as well as a few other selected body parts! It looks to appeal to anyone from history to true crime buffs, but you certainly shouldn’t have a weak stomach.
The exhibition will open at the Museum of London from October this year and last for six months.