The Crime Museum itself is a teaching collection for officers, which was founded in the 1870s and is still used today. Importantly, its contents have never been open to the public... until now.
This exhibition displays carefully selected items from the Museum, and tells the stories relating to them - many uncomfortable, some disturbing, but all fascinating. From original courtroom sketches and ‘wanted’ posters, to eerie ‘death masks’ and nooses, you will begin by learning about the history of the police and the founding of The Crime Museum, with some of the earliest parts of its collection on display.
There is an abundance of artefacts here, including victims’ blood-stained possessions and a number of the offenders’, often very inventive, weapons. As you read through news cuttings, police reports and the countless stories relayed in the Museum’s handy guide, you will no doubt come across some famous, or rather infamous, crimes - look out for the popular section on ‘Jack the Ripper’.
Of course, this is just a warm up for the main event. Next, you will step into a long room filled wall to wall with an expansive collection of items, stories, video clips and pictures, detailing crimes and cases from the early 1900s right up to present day.
Jackie Kelly, Co-Curator of the exhibition comments: “We chose the cases, because often they illustrated leaps forward in detection methods, but also cases that had changed the law or had caused new methods of forensics to be used.”
Watch original news footage from The Great Train Robbery, learn about the first case which was solved using fingerprint technology, or recall the harrowing scenes of the 2005 London bombings.
You could honestly spend hours in this room, and you probably will. It seems the Museum of London has left no stone unturned, and you’d be hard pressed to name a type of crime or weapon that doesn’t feature.
The final room is called ‘Reflections’, and shows a video addressing the questions of how and, indeed, why this exhibition came to fruition. During the video, Jackie Kelly remarks that it’s “important to remember these stories” as many of them mirror crimes that are committed today, whilst Paul Bickley, Curator of The Crime Museum, addresses the sensitive nature of putting on an exhibition such as this. After all, these artefacts and cases were originally only meant for detectives. How will the public react? And is it appropriate? We’ll let you decide for yourselves…