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Exhibition Review : Crime Museum Uncovered at the Museum of London – 9th October 2015 to 10th April 2016

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The Museum of London presents a new exhibition entitled The Crime Museum Uncovered, the exhibition  displays never-before-seen-objects from the Metropolitan Police’s Crime Museum which are on public view for the very first time. The exhibition created in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service and the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MoPAC) – will reveal some of the secrets of the Crime Museum, which was established by the police in the mid-1870s.

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The Crime Museum in Scotland Yard is a private Museum which is only accessible to police professionals and invited guests. The objects in the Crime Museum were originally collected for use as a training resource for officers in the mid – 1870s, although the general public have not had access to the collection it has been the source of fascination over many years.

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The exhibition examines the changing nature of crime and advances in police detection in the last 140 years. An illustration of the changing nature of crime is the first few rooms that concentrate on the 19th century, One of the main exhibits is a Violin, tools, false arm and folding ladder belonging to notorious cat-burglar, Charles Peace, who was a  musician serenading households by day; returning robber by night. Perhaps more macabre are the various death masks of executed criminals and the Execution ropes used to hang convicted criminals. Other items include information relating to the Jack the Ripper case, the Tichbourne claimant, handcuffs reportedly worn by notorious thief, Jack Sheppard and the gun used by Edward Oxford in an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria in 1840.

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The exhibition then moves into the 20th century and concentrates on 24 individuals cases that illustrate some of the most notorious or important cases.

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A number of high-profile cases are featured including Dr Crippen, Ruth Ellis, Derek Bentley, Leslie Stones, The Krays and the Richardsons.

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Other sections include items related to particular periods and themes such as Terrorism, The Cold War and Espionage, Fraud, Forgery, Robbery, Drugs, Firearms and Weapons.

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All of the sections have their own fascination, the Cold war section contains  Microdots containing secret messages and microdot reader found in Mrs Kroger’s handbag when arrested for her involvement in the Portland Soviet Spy Ring (1961). Weapons and Firearms show the way that criminals have developed more sophisticated weapons over time and the police have had to respond with their own array of weapons.

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The exhibition has been very careful to feature the victims of crime as well as the criminals and to examine how criminal investigations have had to deal with the darker side of London history. In the final section, a series of films make this point, criminal activity is a fact of life in the London story and the exhibition offers some insight into how the constant battle between the police and criminals has developed over time.

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In many respects, this exhibition is about the darker side of human nature and reflects how British society has dealt with many threats either from individuals and groups. Not surprisingly, London has featured heavily in these many crimes and been the focus of police innovations since the Metropolitan Police Force was formed.  Although the media often tries to glamourise criminals, the exhibition makes the important point that it is the victims that deserve our sympathy and are too often forgotten.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information about the exhibition or book tickets, visit the Museum of London website here

The Crime Museum Uncovered runs from 9 October 2015 – 10 April 2016 and will be accompanied by a publication and programme of talks and events. Tickets available from £12.50 online; £15 on the door. Wednesdays only; tickets from £10.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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Review : London Dungeon

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Location – County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7P

The London Dungeon is a London Attraction based in the old County Hall on the South Bank of the Thames. Through a series of live shows, special effects, rides and computer graphics it illustrates many of the more gruesome aspects of 1000 years of London History.

The London Dungeon was created in 1974 as a museum of macabre history, however in recent years has become more a live action interactive show with emphasis on horror and humour.

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Owned by the Merlin Entertainments who also run  the Sea Life London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and London Eye. The London Dungeon only moved to its present home in 2013 from its previous home in Tooley Street, London Bridge which was its home for 39 years.

The London Dungeon offers an interactive view of history, where the visitors often play an active part in the entertainment. One you enter the dark entrance of the Dungeon  you are taken to a medieval lift and descend into a subterranean world, you then enter a dark tunnel where you find yourself  with some of the characters from the Gunpowder Plot beneath the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

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After meeting Guy Fawkes you will join Anne Boleyn for a boat ride to the Tower, be given a quick lesson in torture and then transported to 1665 to find London suffering from the Black Plague.

The Plague Doctor's assistant at the London Dungeon

If you escape the leeches, you will wander down Bazalgette’s Sewer to Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop. You probably will not be tempted to taste the pies once you see the ingredients and if you are lucky you will escape a close shave with Sweeney Todd.

19th Century Whitechapel is the next port of call where you learn about the reign of Jack the Ripper and after a confusing walk down the streets you arrive at the Ten Bells Pub on a stormy night. If you think you are safe, think again as the lights go out.

Now is the time for your trial, as you enter the Courtroom and come face to face with the Judge, if you are guilty you will end up at the Newgate Gallows and the Drop Dead Drop Ride to Doom.

London Dungeon with its actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides is a very different attraction, it is a sort of ‘horrible histories’ with added horror and gore. It is intentionally dark and atmospheric with visitors often disorientated by the tunnels and passages, historic London is recreated in a number of sets and the actors guide you from scene to scene. There are some genuine shocks and surprises with a number of special effects to illustrate the often macabre history of London.

It is safe to say that London Dungeon will not appeal to everyone, it is not recommended for children under 8, visitors who are under 16  years of age must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years of age and if you are of a nervous disposition it is probably not for you.

However the attraction is very popular with many visitors who like to experience a scary and humorous  90 minute journey through 1000 years of London’s murky past.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

VLG Tip – As with many attractions in this area, long queues are evident at peak times, therefore it is to your benefit to pre book and look for combined offers with other attractions.

If you would like to find out more information, visit the London Dungeon website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here