Madame Tussauds History Under A Minute - How It All Started

Madame Tussauds London boasts a history as vibrant and intriguing as the wax figures that call it home. Its story stretches back to 1835, when visionary sculptor Marie Tussaud, fresh from the horrors of the French Revolution, established a humble exhibition in the Baker Street Bazaar. Here, her lifelike wax creations, including death masks of revolutionaries and renowned figures like Voltaire, captivated Victorian Londoners.

Madame Tussauds London timeline

1835: Marie Tussaud opens her museum in Baker Street, London, featuring wax figures and the notorious Chamber of Horrors.

1884: The museum relocates to its current location on Marylebone Road, expanding its exhibition space and attracting more visitors.

1908: The first wax sculpture of a young Winston Churchill is created, marking the beginning of a series of ten figures depicting the iconic British leader.

1925: Fire damage and later bombings during World War II cause significant destruction to older wax models, but their casts survive for historical remakes.

2007: Madame Tussauds London becomes part of the Merlin Entertainments Group, leading to further investment and introducing new attractions.

2012: The museum unveils a new interactive Marvel Super Heroes 4D experience, featuring lifelike wax figures and immersive special effects.

Madame Tussauds London history explained

Madame Tussauds History

Origins and Early Exhibitions


In 1835, Marie Tussaud settled in Baker Street, London, and opened her museum, featuring wax figures of notable individuals and the infamous Chamber of Horrors. The exhibition included victims of the French Revolution and newly created figures of murderers and criminals, alongside famous historical figures. By the late 19th century, the limited space and rising costs prompted the commissioning of a new building on Marylebone Road. The new exhibition galleries opened in July 1884, marking a successful transition to a larger location.

Madame Tussauds History

Ownership Changes and Expansion


In 1888, due to financial challenges, Marie Tussaud's grandson sold the business to a group of businessmen led by Edwin Josiah Poyser. The first wax sculpture of Winston Churchill was made in 1908, with subsequent figures created over the years. In 1970, Madame Tussauds expanded internationally by opening its first branch in Amsterdam. Ownership changes continued, with Dubai International Capital acquiring the museum in 2005 and The Blackstone Group in 2007, which merged it with Merlin Entertainments.

Madame Tussauds History

Contemporary Developments and Global Reach

2007 - Present

Since 2007, Madame Tussauds London has continued to evolve and expand its global presence. Under the ownership of Merlin Entertainments, the museum has undergone numerous contemporary developments. It has embraced technology and interactive experiences to enhance visitor engagement, including the introduction of themed areas and immersive exhibits. The brand has expanded worldwide, with Madame Tussauds branches established in various cities, such as New York, Hong Kong, and Sydney. Madame Tussauds remains a premier destination for tourists and locals alike, offering an entertaining and unique opportunity to interact with lifelike wax figures of renowned personalities from diverse fields.

Madame Tussauds architecture

Madame Tussauds London's journey began humbly in 1835 at the Baker Street Bazaar, but soon outgrew its space. In 1884, a grand Neo-Classical building designed by John Thomas Wimperis opened its doors on Marylebone Road, boasting spacious galleries and even a lecture theatre. The 20th century brought both expansion and challenges: a devastating fire in 1925 led to a major Art Deco rebuild, while a WWII bomb attack caused further damage. Throughout the decades, the museum continued to adapt, incorporating new attractions like the London Planetarium in 2010. Today, Madame Tussauds London stands as a testament to its remarkable history, welcoming millions of visitors each year to its iconic wax figures and ever-evolving exhibits.

Madame Tussauds London today

Madame Tussauds London is a must-visit attraction that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. The lifelike wax figures created with meticulous craftsmanship give you an extraordinary opportunity to engage with iconic figures from various fields and eras. By interacting with these figures, you can explore the personal stories and achievements of historical and contemporary celebrities, gaining insights into their lives and contributions.

Beyond the individual figures, Madame Tussauds London holds a significant place in the cultural and historical fabric of the city. With a legacy spanning centuries, the attraction has become integral to London's identity. It serves as a platform for both locals and tourists to delve into the captivating history and culture of the city, showcasing the individuals who have left an indelible mark on society.

Visiting Madame Tussauds London offers a chance to connect with famous personalities and provides an immersive experience that transports you through time. As they explore the exhibits, guests are surrounded by the allure of celebrity culture and the excitement of being in the presence of renowned figures.

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Frequently asked questions about the Madame Tussauds London's history

What is the historical significance of Madame Tussauds London?

Madame Tussauds London holds historical significance as a museum that preserves the artistry and legacy of Marie Tussaud, who began creating wax figures in the late 18th century and established a lasting tradition of capturing the likeness of notable historical figures.

How old is Madame Tussauds London?

Madame Tussauds London is 202 years old as of 2023. It was founded in 1835 by Marie Tussaud.

What are some lesser-known historical facts or anecdotes about Madame Tussauds London?

One of the oldest surviving wax figures at Madame Tussauds London is of Sleeping Beauty, created by Madame Tussaud herself in the early 19th century. The figure still retains its original hair, eyelashes, and clothing, making it a remarkable piece of historical art.

When was Madame Tussauds London founded?

Madame Tussauds London was founded in 1835 by Marie Tussaud, a wax sculptor who was born in Strasbourg, France in 1761.

What is the Chamber of Horrors?

The Chamber of Horrors is a popular attraction at Madame Tussauds London. It is a collection of wax figures of famous criminals and other notorious figures from history. The Chamber of Horrors was first opened in 1846, and it has been a popular attraction ever since.

How many wax figures are there at Madame Tussauds London?

There are over 250 wax figures at Madame Tussauds London. The figures represent a wide range of people from all walks of life, including celebrities, politicians, historical figures, and criminals.