As far as secrets museums go, the Metropolitan Police's 'black' museum is one of the most intriguing. A collection of thousands of bits of evidence relating to key cases since 1874, it has only been seen by police staff and select invited guests.
But a forthcoming exhibition at the Museum of London is about to open up this hitherto private assemblage of artefacts — including items relating to the Jack the Ripper case, infamous criminals such as the Krays and the Acid Bath Murderer; and the Great Train Robbery.
Curator Jackie Keily told Londonist she had been careful not to glamorise the criminals, or luridly concentrate on the grisly details of the crimes, but wanted to focus instead on the human stories behind the actions. The Museum of London is working closely with the independent London Policing Ethics Panel in the planning of this exhibition and has discussed how to ensure the interests of victims are protected with Baroness Newlove, the Victims' Commissioner.
Finbarr Whooley, director of content at the Museum of London, said: "For 140 years, the Metropolitan Police has amassed a fascinating collection of real objects and evidence from the UK’s most notorious criminal investigations that until now have been behind closed doors. Each case has had a fundamental impact on society. Some have changed the way in which crimes are investigated and solved or how the capital is policed, while others have directly led to changes in the law. From the infamous Jack the Ripper murders to lesser-known, but important investigations, we look forward to re-examining these cases and opening them up to the public for the very first time."
Find out more about the exhibition in the video above.
The Crime Museum Uncovered runs from 9 October-10 April. Tickets available from £12.50 online; £15 on the door.