Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Museums, Public Buildings and Galleries - Tussaud's Exhibition of Waxworks

Tussaud's, Madame, Exhibition ... is unquestionably one of the best in London; it is divided into two parts. Open daily from 10 to 5 and in the evening, from 7 to 11. Admission to each, 1s.

Madam Tussaud's Exhibition, Baker Street, Portman Square. - Previously to entering upon a description of this very delightful exhibition, it is our duty to remark that, whoever may have visited any of the wretched productions that, under the denomination of wax-work, have at different periods disgraced the town, should at once banish the recollection of all such rubbish from their mind, any trace of which, if permitted to remain, would, at the mere mention, prove injurious to the exhibition of Madam Tussaud. Be it our business, in justice to this lady, to rescue her fame from an association with these contemptible pretenders to her art, to elevate her to her proper position, and to assure our readers that a visit to Baker Street will, while it confirms the justice of these observations, most assuredly prove productive of great gratification. This exhibition, always beautiful, but most brilliant of an evening, consists of groupes of figures, tastefully and elegantly disposed; one, in particular, illustrative of an historical event, consisting of the most celebrated characters who figured in the late war, is an effective, impressive, and interesting group. The monarchs of England, from George the Fourth* (* In his coronation robes, - of themselves an exhibition of unrivalled splendour.) to Queen Victoria, the royal dukes, together with her great naval and military heroes; assemblages in groups, interspersed with single figures of the leading members of the British senate, her most distinguished literary writers, authors, and actors, and, striking and effective contrast, some of her most wretchedly depraved and abandoned characters. The monarchs of Europe, characters distinguished in history, the principal actors in, together with the blood-stained murderers and victims of, the French Revolution, &c. &c. To pursue this subject further, rendering it strict justice, would be to print a catalogue if this very interesting and splendid collection; such should and may be had at the rooms; and acknowledging our incompetence to do justice to the subject, which we should only injure by an attempt more fully to describe, we cannot, in this instance, render better service to our readers, whether rural or resident, than recommend them to an early visit to the very beautiful exhibition of Madam Tussaud. 

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

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MADAME TUSSAUD'S WAXWORK, Baker Street Bazaar, Portman Square; an exhibition of great merit and interest. It contains full-length figures modelled in wax, which are excellent likenesses, in their habit as they lived, of many royal personages and great celebrities of their day: the Queen Victoria and the late Prince Consort, and all the royal family ; William IV., George IV., and George III. and his queen. At the head of a group of the order of British knighthood stands George IV., in his magnificent coronation robes. New figures (which are always careful portraits) are constantly being added, recording the events of the day. There are also two Napoleon rooms, containing many interesting relics of the great Emperor, including the camp-bed on which he died, and the two carriages he used at Waterloo. The Chamber of Horrors is worthy the attention of those interested. The suite of rooms is 243 feet long by 48 feet wide, affording a promenade of upwards of 700 feet, which is brilliantly lighted. When seen by a proper light (night is the best), it is a magnificent collection of sculpture, paintings, engravings, bronzes, costumes of all periods, jewellery, relics, and wax-modelling.
    Admission: Great room and hall, I a. ; children-half price; Napoleon room and new chamber, 6d. extra.

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865

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Tussaud’s Exhibition of Waxworks and Napoleonic Relics – one of the oldest and most popular exhibitions in London, is situated in Baker-st, W. The nearest station is the Baker-st. (Metrop.) distant about a quarter of a mile, and Oxford-street omnibuses set down passengers for Baker-street at Orchard-street. The “Atlas” and “City Atlas” pass the door. The prices are 1s. a head, with 6d. extra for Napoleon Room and Chamber of Horrors. Catalogues, 6d. 

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

    The trial and execution of Muller in '64 for the murder of Mr. Briggs in one of the tunnels on the Brighton Railway, created more universal excitement than anything before or since, except, perhaps, the case of Mrs. Maybrick. On the night before his execution, the German Ambassador was closeted with the Home Secretary at the urgent request of his Government, and petitions innumerable were presented; but the Home Secretary was a firm man, and the culprit was duly hanged next morning in front of Newgate. Personally I was sceptical of his guilt, and so interested was I that I obtained an order to visit Newgate, and by the judicious expenditure of a shilling, peeped through the observation hole of the condemned cell; later on I saw him hanged, and it was only on his confession to the Lutheran minister, just before the bolt was drawn, that I admitted the justice of the sentence. But the fair-haired Saxon youth of refined and prepossessing appearance had got on my nerves, and when, a week later, his effigy was advertised as having beem added to Tussaud's Wax-works, I determined to see again the youth, whom I had last seen being jerked into eternity.
    In those days the exhibition was in the Baker Street Bazaar, and if the premises were not as roomy as the present palatial building, they certainly appeared to me "snugger". The Chamber of Horrors was snugness itself.
    It was whilst exploring this dismal chamber that an attendant told me that wax figures were the most improvident creatures in the world; that they ran their toes through their stockings with reckless unconcern, and that two or three people were constantly employed darning and mending the belongings of these weird beings.

'One of the Old Brigade' (Donald Shaw), London in the Sixties, 1908

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - At Madame Tussaud's

At Madame Tussaud's - photograph


Madame Tussaud's Exhibition of Waxworks is one of the sights of London, especially dear to country cousins; and the spacious building in the Marylebone Road, near Baker Street Station, is visited by many thousands of both old and young folk annually. Our view shows a royal group in the Main Hall. The effigies beginning on the right, are those of their Royal Highnesses Princess Henry of Battenberg, the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg, the Duchess of Teck, the Duchess of York, the Princess and Prince of Wales, their daughter the Duchess of Fife, the Duchess of Albany, and Princess Christian. Against the walls may be distinguished Shakespeare, in a familiar posture, Sir Walter Scott (in the corner), the Queen of Tragedy - Mrs. Siddons - Macready in Roman costume, and, sitting in a chair, the late Sir Moses Montefiore