The History of Madame Tussauds

History of Madame Tussauds


Millions and millions of people have flocked through the doors of Madame Tussauds since they first opened over 200 years ago and it remains as popular today as it ever was. There are many reasons for this enduring success, but at the heart of it all is good, old fashioned curiosity. Visitors get the unique opportunity to take an emotionally charged journey through the realms of the powerful and famous. Unleash your true feelings about the personalities you love and loathe, get up close and personal with the world’s most talked about people and relive the times, events and moments that made the world talk about them.

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From France to Britain ...

The attraction’s history is a rich and fascinating one with roots dating back to the Paris of 1770. It was here that Madame Tussaud learnt to model wax likenesses under the tutelage of her mentor, Dr Philippe Curtius. Her skills were put to the test during the French Revolution when she was forced to prove her allegiance making the death masks of executed aristocrats. It was in the early 19th century that she came to Britain, bringing with her a travelling exhibition of revolutionary relics and effigies of public heroes and rogues.

Bringing the News to Life ...

At a time when news was communicated largely by word of mouth, Madame Tussauds exhibition was a kind of travelling newspaper, providing an insight into international events and bringing the ordinary public face-to-face with the people in the headlines. Priceless artefacts from the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars brought to life events in Europe which had a direct bearing on every day lives. Realistic portraits of leading statesmen, politicians, and the villains in the Chamber of Horrors, put faces to the names on every ones lips and captured the public imagination. In 1835 Madame Tussauds exhibition established a permanent base in London. Known as the Baker Street Bazaar, visitors paid six pence for the chance to meet the biggest names of the day. The attraction moved to its present site in Marylebone Road in 1884.

Blending History and Celebrity