The Metropolitan Police Crime Museum

Our guide, Lindsay Siviter, also freelances as a volunteer at the Metropolitan Police Crime Museum at  New Scotland Yard.  

Here she tells us a little bit about the future of the museum and details some of the amazing finds she has made whilst working there.

Over to you Lindsay.

The building which houses this great institution is due to be vacated by everyone next year sometime and as yet the staff here at the Crime Museum do not know where the museums new home and location will be.

Therefore, because the museum will be moving, there is no point making any major changes in the immediate future regarding redisplaying and reorganising the museum as we will have to do everything from scratch at the new location.

My aim is to help to make small but significant improvements where I can with my museum background and curatorial skills, help catalogue the museums contents, refresh displays and do research and other tasks as requested by the Curator.

In January I Discovered hitherto unknown box of amazing and hitherto unpublished Scene of Crime photographs relating to the infamous murderer John Reginald Halliday Christie and the murders at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill!

I was almost shaking with the excitement. Despite many of these photos being quite gruesome and sad, for me it was a dream come true finding them as this is a case I have been fascinated with for many years.

I have now started to catalogue them all individually so we know exactly what we have. That same month I looked through our make-shift Historical Events diary to choose three famous cases that occurred in the month of February in order that I might prepare three posters for the corridor outside the museum saying “Mystery Objects” and “Curators Object of the Month.”

This was an idea which I introduced into the museum when I started to make the corridor more interesting and variable for those waiting to enter the museum and for those who work nearby.

This is often done in other museums where I have worked and will help the Curator to refresh his memory about relevant crimes that happened each month which he may wish to focus on during his tours of the museum.

Me and famous Ripper author Keith Skinner discovered some correspondence connecting the murderer Dr Crippen and the famous theatrical costumiers “Morris Angels & Sons”.

By a total weird coincidence I was returning a period costume dress which in had hired for an event the next day to their head office so arranged a meeting with their Director to discuss the exciting documents! Watch this space for future information on this!

I also went through various boxes of artefacts and documents relating to The Great Train Robbery to choose items to lend another museum for their forthcoming exhibition on the topic. I saw all sorts of amazing items mainly retained due to the fingerprint evidence on them including objects from Leatherslade Farm.

In addition I found a clear plastic stand in which I helped re-display some of the original monopoly money handled by the gang while they played at their hideout! This new stand enabled both sides to be displayed for the first time!

On another day I had a most exciting morning when I re-displayed and re-organised the whole showcase displaying artefacts and documents related to The Great Train Robbery – what a privilege!

With my white gloves on to help prevent damage to the objects I helped curate the whole cabinet, adding new objects for the first time including a cup and saucer, cutlery and bottles with fingerprints on them, Ronnie Biggs fingerprint record and other documents including a contemporary 1963 newspaper which I found in a box!

I then created new labels and a new commentary sheet for the showcase. Started to re-organise new commentaries which we will use on the audio tour guide wands which visitors use when they visit the museum.

Each famous case within the museum and certain objects all have individual numbers which relate to a certain case commentary on the wand.

Visitors can then pick and choose which stories and objects they wish to hear about.