Madame Tussauds waxwork museums have become such an international phenomenon that many people don’t realise that the very first iteration of the museum was in London.
Now, the waxworks have spread to pretty much every continent on the face of the earth, and millions of people travel to see the life-like recreations for themselves.
Book a room in The Chilworth London Paddington Hotel for an incredibly central stay that allows easy access to Madame Tussauds, and pretty much all of London’s other fantastic attractions.
Let’s take a look at the intriguing history behind the waxworks and its founder Madame Tussaud herself.
Marie Tussaud was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1761. Her father was killed prior to her birth in the 7 Years War, so her mother moved the family into a doctor’s house for whom she was a housekeeper.
Tussaud learned the art of wax modelling from her mentor and mother’s boss, Dr Philippe Curtius, a physician and wax modeller.
In 1777, she moved to Paris and began creating wax models of famous people, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin. Her first wax figure was of Voltaire, which she created when she was only 16 years old.
In 1792, Tussaud was imprisoned during the French Revolution for her connections to the royal family. While in prison, she was forced to make death masks of prominent figures who had been executed, including King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
After her release from prison, Tussaud travelled around Europe showcasing her wax figures and building a reputation for her lifelike creations. In 1835, she settled in London and opened her first permanent wax museum on Baker Street.
It is said her first exhibit was quite gruesome, as most of the figures on display had been executed rather brutally.
Today’s Waxwork Museum
Over the years, Madame Tussauds has become a major tourist attraction and has expanded to multiple locations around the world.
Today, the London museum features over 250 wax figures of famous people from movie stars and musicians, to world leaders and historical figures.
One of the most popular sections of the museum is the Chamber of Horrors, which features wax figures of notorious criminals and famous historical figures who have been associated with violence and horror, such as Jack the Ripper and Vlad the Impaler- don’t worry, you’ll be able to lower your heart rate in your hotel’s stunning spa near Paddington when you get home!
Madame Tussauds has also become known for its innovative and interactive exhibits. Visitors can take selfies with their favourite celebrities, pose with sports stars, and even have a wax hand created in their own likeness.
The museum is no longer on Baker Street, but can be found not far from its original location; near Regent’s Park on Marylebone Road- within super easy reach of your hotels near Paddington Station London.
The museum has faced its fair share of controversies over the years.
In 2001, a wax figure of Adolf Hitler was removed from the Berlin location after protests from Jewish groups.
In 2017, a wax figure of President Donald Trump was widely criticised for its accuracy and was eventually moved to a different location within the museum.
Be sure to visit one of the key attractions on offer in London, and the very first Madame Tussauds Waxworks.
Make sure to extract the most from your London hotels special offers with breakfast and fill up before exploring the wonders of the city.