Boris Johnson wants Scotland Yard's museum of crime artefacts to be opened to the public, spreading the previously limited joy of grisly things to anyone who feels they have outgrown the CGI horrors of CSI.
The unofficially named 'Black Museum' was originally started for instructional purposes in 1869, with more fascinated 'Ooh' and 'Urrrghhh' factor than most educational displays. It currently fills two dimly lit rooms in New Scotland Yard, supervised by a single retired police officer and limited to police officers and special guests for training only. The plan launched by the Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and backed by Boris will widen access to the public, and there is no little glee in the anticipated long queues of tourists waiting to catch a glimpse of Dr Crippen's bathroom fittings and famous Bulgarian writer killing poisoned umbrellas.
Other artefacts include gruesome binoculars designed to pierce eyes when made to focus, dart-firing briefcases, swords concealed in walking sticks and things left behind by Jack the Ripper. It would be a popular addition to London's museum circuit, we have no doubt, though whether or not it would join our Museums of the Month depends on how many inevitable 'interactive' displays are developed 'for da kidz'.
More crucial considerations for the possible opening up of the Black Museum is what to expect in terms of contemporary artefacts. Will there be retention and display of the baton that whacked Ian Tomlinson on the legs and the big black glove that slapped the woman at Tomlinson's vigil? Perhaps a precious display of the rarely seen police identification badges? The more we think about it, the more important this museum for public interest seems.