This museum, although begun in 1874, has only just been opened to the general public (maybe they did not want to give common people any ideas). The museum was conceived in 1874 by a serving Inspector, who at that time had collected together a number of items, with the intention of giving police officers practical instruction on how to detect and prevent crime. By the latter part of 1874, official authority was given for a crime museum to be opened. There was no official opening of the museum, and two years elapsed before a record of the first visitors was recorded. This was on 6 October 1877 when the Commissioner, Sir Edmund Henderson, KCB, accompanied by the Assistant Commissioners, Lt. Col. Labolmondiere and Capt. Harris, visited with other dignitaries. By now there was a steady increase in the number viewing the displays and the first visitors book, which spans some eighteen years from 1877 to 1894, reads like a current 'Who's Who'. Certainly not all visitors were asked to sign the visitors book but, as instruction in the museum was part of CID training, the museum was in constant use. In 1877 the name 'Black Museum' was coined, when on 8 April a reporter from 'The Observer' newspaper used the term after being refused a visit by Inspector Neame. However the museum is now referred to as the Crime Museum. In 1890 the museum moved with the Metropolitan Police Office to new premises at the other end of Whitehall, on the newly constructed Thames Embankment. The building, constructed by Norman Shaw RA, and made of granite quarried by convicts on Dartmoor, was called New Scotland Yard. A set of rooms in the basement housed the museum and, although there was no Curator as such, PC Randall was responsible for keeping the place tidy, adding to exhibits, vetting applications for visits and arranging dates for them. The museum was closed during both World War I and II, and in 1967, with the move of the Metropolitan Police Headquarters to new premises in Victoria Street, S.W.1, the museum was housed in rooms on the second floor.
This most inaccessible of museums has now assembled an exhibition located at the London Museum. Usually only seen by serving police officers, Scotland Yard's Crime Museum has handed over its most captivating exhibits to the Museum of London for an eye-opening six-month display. More than 600 objects, including a poisoned syringe belonging to East End gangsters, the Kray twins, and handwritten notes of the chief detective in Jack the Ripper's case, as well as artefacts from the Acid Bath Murders and Crippen's cables, will be available to the public for the first time ever. Drawn from Scotland Yard's private collection, the show charts more than a century of violence and suffering, from the IRA and al-Qaeda bombings, but also celebrates the brains, bravery and scientific advances that helped catch perpetrators and solve crimes. Co-curator Jackie Keily said some people will find the displays 'deeply upsetting or unsettling.' 'However, for all the bad we see in crime, there's also the good,' she said. 'There are people who go out there and investigate, who doggedly follow down the leads.' Human remains will not be on display. Fully accessible. Wheelchairs and scooters available. VocalEyes tours available (book in advance). Guide dogs welcome. Touch tours available. Magnifying glasses available.
Location : 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
Opening Times: Until 10th April.
Monday to Sunday 10:00 to 18:00
Saturday/Sunday 10:00 to 17:30
Tickets : Adults £10.00
Concessions £8.00, Carers Free
Note. Museum is free, the above are exhibition prices.
Tel: 020 7001 9844.