All images © Museum of London
Shrapnel from a bomb, masks worn by the first criminals to be prosecuted by fingerprint evidence, and execution ropes will go on public display for the first time.
Previously hidden in the Metropolitan Police Service's Crime Museum — known as the "Black Museum" — around 500 objects will give a fascinating glimpse into the history of policing in London, since officers started the museum in 1875.
The Crime Museum is only open to serving police officers and invited guests so the exhibition at the Museum of London will, for the first time, allow the public to see evidence from some of the UK’s most notorious crimes, including the Acid Bath Murderer of 1949, the Great Train Robbery of 1963 and the Millennium Dome Diamond Heist of 2000.
The Museum of London exhibition also aims to dispel some of the myths that have been incorrectly associated with the Crime Museum over the last 140 years. For example, Jack the Ripper’s ‘From Hell’ letter is housed at the National Archives, and not at the Crime Museum. Similarly, the rope used to execute Ruth Ellis — the last woman executed for murder in the United Kingdom — is not part of the collection. Yet the Crime Museum does hold the weapon used to murder her racing driver lover, David Blakely, in 1955.
Aside from police professionals, the Crime Museum’s visitors’ book reveals an eclectic list of high-profile guests over the years. King George V, Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illusionist Harry Houdini and comedy double act Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have all stepped inside the infamous museum, currently housed within the Metropolitan Police’s HQ, New Scotland Yard.
We'll have to wait until October to join the list of people who've seen these objects, but you can get a glimpse of what'll be on display in the gallery above.
The Crime Museum Uncovered runs from 9 October-10 April. Tickets are £12.50 online; £15 on the door, available from the museum's website.