The most celebrities per square kilometre in the world – the original celebrity rendezvous! Madame Tussauds museum is well-known for having life-size models of celebrities from throughout the ages. The collection includes older famous figures such as Horatio Nelson and Sir Walter Scott, who were sculpted by Marie Tussaud herself, as well as more modern popular celebrities like Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, and Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Marie Grosholtz was born in 1760 in Strasbourg, France. When she was in her teens her mother worked for Dr Phillipe Curtius, a Swiss physician who was an adept wax sculptor. Curtius taught Marie the art of wax modelling during this time, and in 1777 Marie finished her first sculpture of Voltaire, of whom she was an eager adherent.
After the doctor’s death in 1794, Marie inherited his vast collection of wax figures and spent three decades touring Europe. In 1795 she married Francois Tussaud, a French civil engineer, which conferred a new name for the show: Madame Tussaud’s. In 1802 she was invited to London by Paul Philidor, an exhibitor of phantasmagoria through theatre. Marie did not fare well financially, with Philidor taking half of her profits, but was unable to return to France due to the Napoleonic Wars. Soon, she cut away from Philidor and travelled England and Ireland showcasing her works, and settled down back in London in 1835, where she had opened a museum.
USING THE OL’ NOGGIN
In her memoirs, Marie Tussaud claims that she often searched through piles of corpses from executions to find the severed heads of civilian victims, from which she would make “death masks” that the revolutionaries would hold as flags while on parade.
AN UNPOPULAR FIGURE
The museums (since becoming famous, there has been a whole chain of Madame Tussauds museums opened all over the world – the apostrophe was dropped from the original name) also include the Chamber of Horrors, which exhibit infamous criminals and murderers and notably includes a figure of Adolf Hitler among the collections. In 2008, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the Berlin branch when a German man broke past the guards to decapitate Hitler. Many thought it as an act of protest relating to the showing of the figure among sports heroes and movie stars, but it was later revealed that the offender had done it in order to win a bet with his friends.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Bulls Cross Ride (Rd), Waltham Cross
Hertfordshire, England, EN7 5HS
+44 (0)1992 620 604
- Address: Marylebone Road, London, England, United Kingdom, NW1 5LR
- GPS: 51.5225746,-0.15534819999993488
- Phone: 0044(0)871 894 3000
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: NW1 5LR
- Entrance Fees: Charges Apply
- Disabled Access: Excellent
- Visibility from Road: Fair (exterior only)