Warning: This post contains images and references which may upset some viewers. This place won’t be for everyone so please, do not read ahead if this warning applies to you. For us, it was two and a half hours of fascination, discomfort, confrontation and overall satisfying our morbid curiosity. A perfect post for Halloween.
“Crime is unpleasant and therefore should not be presented in a pleasant manner.”
After seeing the Littledean Jail on Netflix and being just an hours drive away, there was no way I wasn’t going to visit. Although the museum may be controversial, it is undeniably full of history, so full that it makes it Europe’s largest dark tourist museum. I think my blog would be deleted if I posted about everything, so please note, this is a very small fraction of the collection. It took us hours to look at everything, even then I’m sure we missed a few things!
When I first entered the 200 year old jail, I noticed there was a lot of taxidermy. I guess taxidermy is normal but that very much depends on what your normal is. In my opinion, nothing is ‘normal’ here… and thats the appeal of it! Taxidermy isn’t really for me but I do appreciate it as an art in its own form. You definately require skill and a strong stomach to do it. Most of the taxidermed animals had some form of mutation or were set in comical settings. I feel strange saying this, but I actually quite liked the mouse on the toilet.
As a time through crime journey, there’s a lot of serial killer memorabilia or rather, “murderabilia”. Some pieces had been personally handed over from the criminals themselves. I think with perhaps the wish to live on through the museum, and keep their stories alive.
There were quite a few pieces from Charles Bronson including clothing, art work, inmate uniforms, accessories and personal notes. Andy Jones, the owner and founder of the museum, has formed a strong friendship with Charles through his collection, and even attended his wedding to the late Paula Williamson in 2017.
You may know about the UK’s most notorious serial killers, Fred and Rose West. With so many documentaries, dramas and media surrounding their case, you would have had to of been living under a rock to have not heard of them. There are a lot of possessions which Andy says, due to being friends with the right people, he was able to recover from the house on Cromwell Street, before it’s demolition in 1996.
Seeing Fred West’s boots gave me a bit of a chill. I don’t know why exactly because it’s such an average item, but then maybe thats what made it so creepy. They’re just a pair of boots but it’s strange to see something so casusual from someone so evil.
The most confronting of all for me was the Nazi exhibition and the KKK. If you’ve seen the episode of Dark Touist on Netflix, you won’t of forgot about this scene in a hurry. Although the history is true, it’s still upsetting. One of the pieces I found particularly chilling, was the lamp shade. If you’re thinking it looks like skin, you’re correct. Andy has actually had it tested and it is in fact, made of human skin.
As I said, this only a small percentage of what we saw at the jail. If you’re curious for more, then indulge your inner dark tourist and go see it for yourself!