A Grisly Day Out

Peering through skulls

Having reported its opening in 2014, News Writer Chris Broughton had been intrigued by the True Crime Museum in Hastings yet had never quite made it inside. A grey day in January offered an ideal opportunity to finally visit with his two teenagers, though having heard reports from friends who had ventured in before, it’s fair to say all three approached the attraction with some trepidation. 

Happily, despite detailing some of the most horrific murders committed in the UK and further afield in (often literally) forensic detail, the museum fascinated as much as it horrified. Our intrepid trio found the attraction’s setting, within a cave set back from the seafront, created an unsettling atmosphere that was only exacerbated by flickering lights, and some exhibits are pretty grisly. These include a genuine lethal injection deathbed and actual oil drums used by the ‘acid bath murderer’, John Haigh, to dissolve the bodies of his victims, and at the back of the cave is a cinema showing murderers detailing their crimes.

A pair of dodgy characters

Nevertheless, there are flashes of grim humour offering some light relief – the teens were amused by some of badly-realised art created by imprisoned criminals and had fun trying to guess the crimes committed by those on display in the ‘hall of fame’ (including Sid Vicious, Justin Bieber and Stravinsky), while Dad was surprised to find a weapon inspired by kids’ TV programme The Wombles. Despite a recommended visit time of an hour, all three agreed that even after staying twice that long browsing, a return will have to be made soon – while their morbid curiosity had been whetted, there were many exhibits left to examine in more detail.

The True Crime Museum is open seven days a week and offers a range of options and packages for groups, including local crime walks.

Fiona Horan 31/3/20