First introduced to British audiences in 1818 while Marie Tussaud toured the UK with her travelling wax exhibition, the return of Chamber of Horrors will again shine a light on some of London’s darkest crime scenes of the past 150 years.
Chamber of Horrors is based on shocking real crimes which affected real lives.
The cases featured all captured the interest of the public and media at the time, but behind each one innocent lives were lost and families left devastated.
The Kray Twins
- Identical twin brothers Ronnie and Reggie were at the heart of organised crime in the East End of London from the late 1950s to 1967.
- Ronnie was convicted of the murder of an East End gang member in 1966 and Reggie of a separate murder of a man the following year, leading to both being sentenced to life imprisonment.
- Ronnie died in Broadmoor high security hospital in 1995 and Reggie in 2000.
John ‘Reg’ Christie
- Known to have murdered six people – and likely to have killed two others - at his home in Rillington Place, Notting Hill, during the 1940s and early 1950s.
- Christie’s neighbour was wrongfully hanged for some of the murders in 1950 - with the case playing a major part in the removal of capital punishment for murder in Britain in 1965.
- Christie was tried only for the murder of his wife, for which he was convicted and hanged in 1953.
- Known as the Acid Bath Murderer, Haigh was convicted of the murder of six people, although he claimed to have killed nine, between 1944 and 1949.
- Haigh disposed of their bodies using sulphuric acid, before forging their signatures so he could sell their possessions and collect large sums of money.
- He was hanged in 1949.
- Nilsen was convicted of six murders and two attempted murders of young men and boys inside two north London addresses where he lived between 1978 and 1983, although he is widely suspected of many more, admitting at one stage to killing 15.
- Nilsen was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1983 and died in 2018.
- Campaigners say police failed to take the disappearance of the young men seriously because of prejudice towards the gay community and that Nilsen could have been caught earlier.
- Ellis was hanged in July 1955 for the premeditated murder of her lover, who she told her Old Bailey trial had been abusive towards her.
- She became the last woman to be hanged in Britain.
- Her case caused widespread controversy and helped strengthen support for the abolition of the death penalty.
Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen
- Hanged in November 1910 for the murder of his American actress wife, whose torso was found buried under the brick floor of the basement of their home in Holloway, north London.
- Police began investigating the disappearance of Crippen’s wife on the request of her friends who didn’t believe his story that she had moved back to the US - and found her remains on their fourth search of the house.
- Crippen, a doctor also originally from the US, and his mistress were arrested in Canada after fleeing the UK in disguise.
Jack the Ripper
- Suspected of the murder of at least five women in and around Whitechapel in the East End of London in 1888 – but was never caught.
- Whilst never officially identified, based on well documented historical and more contemporary theories, Jack the Ripper’s Chamber of Horrors figure will take the form of Aaron Kosminski, a barber originally from Poland who emigrated to England in the 1880s.
- The nature of the Ripper murders and the impoverished lifestyle of the victims drew attention to the poor living conditions in the East End of London and helped galvanise public opinion against the overcrowded, insanitary slums.
If you would like support on any of the issues raised by Chamber of Horrors, you can contact the FAMS charity, who work with people affected by crimes. More information can be found on their website: www.fams.chat