The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

Wax figures after the fire

Photograph of six wax figures and broken body parts damaged from 1929 fire at Madame Tussaud's in London.

I’m so unsettled and captivated by this incredible photograph of wax figures burnt and melted after the massive 1925 fire that destroyed Madame Tussauds wax museum in London. I think wax models alone are already pretty creepy, but I don’t think even the Chamber of Horrors can touch the pathos of this unintentionally gruesome scene. With missing heads and appendages, charred skin and clothing in disarray, the uncanny wax models truly look like the causalities of some great trauma.

I’ve been trying to unearth more photographs of destroyed wax models from the fire, with no luck. However, I did come across this newsreel which shows the destruction of the fire, and some of the wax figures within the rubble.

Almost as interesting are some of the colorful quotes taken from 1925 news stories about the fire:

// Image from Wassenbeelden Museum (via Theory of Disease/firsttimeuser). Photographer unknown.

19 comments

  1. Sharon Forbes

    I’m a bit late finding this page. A great photo. My great grandfather Richard Bayley was a wax modeller who made some of the heads for Madam Tussauds in the late 1800 – early 1900. I wonder if he made any of these? He died in 1926, just year after the fire. He lived nearby, so he probably watched it burn….heartbreaking all that work.

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  3. HMETALNYMETSVAL

    Thank you so very much for posting this article. I had seen the disturbing photo several times as a small photo at the bottom of news websites article promoting other odd interesting stories. I would never click on the photo but yesterday when looking at a website with rare WW2 photos it was mixed in with no caption. I was very disturbed by the photo especially cause I was thinking the 2 heads were real. Since I don’t like horrors I was rather upset by it.
    I kept researching, Googling today to find out when the photo was about. I kept thinking it couldn’t be real people. So I was so relieved when I found the photo again with your article. Whew! Not real people, just wax mannequins destroyed in a fire. Still creepy but at least I can sleep better tonight. Well I hope so as my husband a huge fan of horror and tonight wants to watch the old movie Prince of Darkness. Lol.
    Anyway, Thanks again!!!!

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  6. Ana

    When I saw this in my feed, I thought that the sculptures would be more mangled… I see now that that would’ve had less impact – this is far more disturbing.

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