Horror of horrors


Until the mid-Seventies I thought Dr Crippen was the fifth Beatle.
In 1964 my dad took me to Madame Tussaud’s to see the newly-installed Beatles waxworks.
I was seven and looking forward to seeing the Fab Four.
The train and bus journey from Balham to north-west London was a familiar one as my paternal grandmother lived nearby, so a visit to Madame Tussaud’s killed two birds with one stone – not dissimilar to Dr and the late Mrs Crippen!
Having made our way round the exhibition I remember thinking to myself that George Harrison looked a bit like President Kennedy, when I realised it actually was JFK (who wasn’t the fifth Beatle, either) – the clue being he was on his own, not holding a guitar and wasn’t part of a pop-combo involving Eisenhower, Harry Truman or FDR.
Modern culture box ticked, dad suggested a trip downstairs to the Chamber of Horrors.
I’d watched the initial episodes of Dr Who (albeit from behind a sofa) so the thought of being face to face (or face to wax on this occasion) with a selection of poisoners didn’t fazed me.
Except it did later that evening, as I couldn’t sleep thinking the likes of Crippen, Haigh and Christie were in the next flat! I’ve never had nightmares like it – except when I’d drunk Newcastle Brown Ale mistaking it for Virol.
It took several decades before I visited the Chamber again, in comparison, Hitler seemed quite innocuous; probably because he wasn’t wearing glasses like Crippen or Christie?

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