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Madame Tussauds JTR letter

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  • Madame Tussauds JTR letter

    Does anyone know whether the letter exhibited in Madame Tussaudīs Chamber of Horrors in the early 1960īs was the genuine one? I know that the "old" Chamber of Horrors had genuine articles from famous murders - much more scary then, I think, than the new one. I remember reading the letter when I was living in a student hostel (that dates me!) located where Commercial road meets Whitechapel road and being absolutely terrified - slept with the light on for a long time! If I had known then how exactly in the centre of things I was I think I would have slept under the bed!


    "In the mountains of madness there are small plateaux of sanity." (Sir Terry Pratchett)

  • #2
    Sorry that no one has answered your question, curious. I imagine that only SPE might know, but he seems to be busy elsewhere. As for me, I didn't visit the Chamber until the mid-70s and, if the letter was still there, I missed it. (Lots to see in Tussaud's, innit.)

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    • #3
      Poster

      Originally posted by curious4 View Post
      Does anyone know whether the letter exhibited in Madame Tussaudīs Chamber of Horrors in the early 1960īs was the genuine one? I know that the "old" Chamber of Horrors had genuine articles from famous murders - much more scary then, I think, than the new one. I remember reading the letter when I was living in a student hostel (that dates me!) located where Commercial road meets Whitechapel road and being absolutely terrified - slept with the light on for a long time! If I had known then how exactly in the centre of things I was I think I would have slept under the bed!


      "In the mountains of madness there are small plateaux of sanity." (Sir Terry Pratchett)
      I visited Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors in the latter half of the 1950s and what was on display, framed and mounted on a stone support pillar as I recall, was the Metropolitan Police poster bearing the facsimile of the 'Dear Boss' letter and the 'saucy Jacky' postcard. I have no knowledge of Madame Tussaud's ever possessing an original Ripper letter of any sort.
      SPE

      Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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      • #4
        Hi Stewart..

        Mum took me along to Tussauds in the 60's,because I supposedly wanted to see the "Chamber of Horrors". She was gone ages,and I got bored..as teenagers tend to,so I leant against a stone pillar and put my radio earpiece in my ear..when I went to stand upright to go to find her,I hit my head on the bottom edge of a picture frame..read what was inside it..and years later in a library I picked up a book on JTR..and got interested.

        If I remember rightly it was the postcard in red writing..looked genuine to me.Definitely not a poster,as the picture frame was smallish and square.The writing was bold,which is why I don't think it was a copy.
        But we are talking years ago..so maybe my memory is wrong.
        (We are talking about someone who walks around with her glasses on her head,wondering where on earth she's put them down !!!)

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        • #5
          Poster

          Originally posted by anna View Post
          Hi Stewart..
          Mum took me along to Tussauds in the 60's,because I supposedly wanted to see the "Chamber of Horrors". She was gone ages,and I got bored..as teenagers tend to,so I leant against a stone pillar and put my radio earpiece in my ear..when I went to stand upright to go to find her,I hit my head on the bottom edge of a picture frame..read what was inside it..and years later in a library I picked up a book on JTR..and got interested.
          If I remember rightly it was the postcard in red writing..looked genuine to me.Definitely not a poster,as the picture frame was smallish and square.The writing was bold,which is why I don't think it was a copy.
          But we are talking years ago..so maybe my memory is wrong.
          (We are talking about someone who walks around with her glasses on her head,wondering where on earth she's put them down !!!)
          The frame was quite large, but although the wording of the poster was in black the writing of the letter and postcard facsimiles were in red.
          SPE

          Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Stewart P Evans View Post
            The frame was quite large, but although the wording of the poster was in black the writing of the letter and postcard facsimiles were in red.

            Well Anna ,I remember it as Stewart does actually,seeing it for the first time in the late 50"s.There was a grey pillar that it was attached to and it was mounted in a thin frame containing an A4 sized piece of paper with red writing on it.There was an old bath not far from it that had been used to drown lots of the murderer"s wives in -quite spooked out I was by it all!

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            • #7
              JTR Mme Tussauds

              Thank you everyone! If I could only remember whether there were two pages or one, because if it showed front and back it must have been a copy. I can only remember reading the bit about trying to write it in the "proper red stuff.....", which means it must have been the "Dear Boss" letter and that was enough! Also saw the bath - people had imagination in those days - something like that was enough!

              Anyone else remember that far back?

              P.S. Was definitely written in red ink, anyway.

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              • #8
                Hi everyone,

                Andy Aliffe worked briefly at Madame Tussaud's perhaps six or seven years ago. I once went to visit him and we looked for the original JTR letter we had both heard was there. All we saw was the framed postcard poster Stewart Evans mentioned.

                I also amused myself by leaning glassy-eyed against the Ten Bells in Ripper street (I wore contact lenses then) until someone came to check whether I was real or a waxwork. Small pleasures.

                Cheers
                E.
                Asante Mungu leo ni Ijumaa.
                Old Swahili Proverb

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                • #9
                  Hi everyone,
                  Thanks Norma and Stewart for the explanations..
                  I don't suppose I was paying much attention to detail that day,at least I took in the red ink !!!

                  That bath sounds interesting !

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                  • #10
                    Since this thread seems to have arrived at its natural end, I wonder if I could ask one of my pronunciation questions. My grandfather, who was born in London, pronounced "Tussaud" as "Too-sod". My father, who was born in Canada, but often went to London, pronounced it as "Too-so". Since the Madame arrived in London very early in the nineteenth century, I don't think this is a question of French vs. English pronunciation. Anyway, how do most of you say the name?

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                    • #11
                      Madame Tussaud

                      Originally posted by The Grave Maurice View Post
                      Since this thread seems to have arrived at its natural end, I wonder if I could ask one of my pronunciation questions. My grandfather, who was born in London, pronounced "Tussaud" as "Too-sod". My father, who was born in Canada, but often went to London, pronounced it as "Too-so". Since the Madame arrived in London very early in the nineteenth century, I don't think this is a question of French vs. English pronunciation. Anyway, how do most of you say the name?
                      The English are not particularly noted for their correct pronunciation of foreign names. So you hear most say 'Too-sord'. Richard Whittington-Egan insists it is 'Too-so', which is the version I use.
                      SPE

                      Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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                      • #12
                        Like the cricketer Richie Benord.

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                        • #13
                          Hi Grave Maurice.

                          Personally,I've never known it to be pronounced as anything other than "Too-saud".
                          I know the French pronounciation would be different,but the telly,and just about everyone says "Too-saud".

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                          • #14
                            I'd say that (popularly) I've most often heard of it referred to as Madam Two-swords by British people.

                            I regret the passing of the exhibition from the hands of the family - their traditions, and the links to famous people of the past were very much alive, and they regarded it as much as a museum as a spectacle.

                            I recall first visiting the Chamber of Horrors in the early 60s, I'd have been about 11, and finding it chilling indeed.

                            So many of the murderers were so non-descript - I especially recall Christie with his paste brush, depicted as just having walled up another victim in this seedy room. the deck-chair was used rope as a support, not canvas. It gave me nightmares for a long time.

                            I also recall the Comte d'Horlorge (a sort of Dr Manette from "Tale of Two Cities" ) modelled by Madame Tussaud herself, all wild eyes and long beard. Spooky! The guillotined heads of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Robespierre etc, not all gored-up as they are now, but displayed subtley - again taken from life.

                            Do we know what personalities from the Ripper-era were modelled - The Queen and Lord Salisbury, I assume, but Warren? Prince "Eddy"? Matthews was probably too minor. Old guidebooks would tell us. I have some old histories of Tussauds (one dated 1921), and an illustrated guide from that first visit I mentioned. But nothing from the 1880s.

                            Phil

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                            • #15
                              The Bastille prisoner I mentioned, was the Comte de Lorge - for some reason I couldn't edit my previous post.

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