Museum of Crime
(INVITATION TO THE BLACK MUSEUM + INSIDE THE BLACK MUSEUM)
Produced with kind permission of the Metropolitan Police
Program 1 dur: 25 minutes + Program 2 dur: 25 minutes
Behind the glass case in a dimly lit room lies the gun used by Ruth Ellis to kill her lover. In a far corner is an impressive display of Hangman's ropes, the oldest of which executed convicted murderer, George Platts as long ago as 1847. And representing the latter half of the 20th century is the carefully preserved uniform worn here by hero PC Trevor Locke during the Iranian Embassy Siege of April/May 1980.
These are just a few of the fascinating and, at times, disturbing artefacts to be found in New Scotland Yard's Black Museum. Sometimes insignificant and little-known, sometimes spectacular and infamous, but each is of supreme importance to the history of crime and the criminal. And all bear witness to the darker side of human nature.
Yet visits to this museum are by invitation only, a privilege granted purely to police officers, lawyers and other specialists in the field of crime. But now Sandy Kaye Independent Producer is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a trip inside of this most secret of museums with the release of this documentary " An Invitation to the Black Museum".
"An Invitation to the Black Museum" gives the viewer a riveting 45 minute tour. It is produced by Sandy Kaye, the only person hitherto granted an exclusive licence to film inside the museum. Sandy's other credits include the ever popular TV programme Police 5 (Midlands). Introduced by the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan police John A Dellow C.B.E. and narrated by Shaw Taylor, this documentary is a fascinating insight into this ultimate showcase of crime.
At its beginnings in 1875, the museum was purely a repository for items of property seized by police in connection with crime. By 1890 this had grown into a sizeable collection and the aura of mystery surrounding the exhibits soon earned it the macabre title "The Black Museum". From very old to very modern each object has its own remarkable story to tell and each can provide a window through which to look into the mind of it's own.
A folding wooden ladder and a violin are two of the museum's oldest exhibits. These both belonged to master burglar pint sized Charlie Peace, hanged for murder in 1878. A picture framer and antiques dealer by trade, Peace was an accomplished musician who regularly played in amateur concerts in the evenings. Late at night, who would suspect the little figure scuttling down the street violin case clutched tightly under one arm? A violin case which, incidentally was filled, not with the violin, but with the tricks of his other trade - jemmy, wooden ladder and a cosh!
Jack the Ripper may be one of the most infamous characters in the history of British crime, but one man has at least matched his sadistic brutality. Gordon Cummins, and outwardly ordinary young airman in the RAF, stalks the dark streets of wartime London in search of his victims. Like those of Jack the Ripper, these were prostitutes, murdered with a silk stocking and afterwards savagely mutilated. Fortunately Cummins reign of terror did not last long. In 1942 he was caught and later executed during an air raid.
In April/May 1980 the eyes of the world were focused on London's Princes Gate. Inside the Iranian Embassy, 27 people were held hostage by 7 armed terrorists but after six days the siege was ended spectacularly by the SAS. Using actual police film taken during the siege, the video recreates superbly the tense, knife edged atmosphere as the police negotiated night and day for the release of the hostages.
The letter authorising the army to end the siege is among the remarkable collection of relics devoted to this most historic of events. Each object bears witness to the tremendous courage and patience shown by both the hostages and those who worked so tirelessly for their release.
These are just a few of the many exciting subjects covered in "An Invitation to the Black Museum". Those interested in crime and the criminal will be fascinated by the enormous wealth of information contained in the film and by accurate portrayal of the museums eerie, turn-of-the-century atmosphere.
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Links for further information:
Met Police / Secret London / wiki / Inside History / History Press / Police History / British India Society / facebook