The Black Museum

Opening in 1875, the Crime Museum at Scotland Yard is the oldest museum in the world purely for recording crime. The name "Black Museum" was coined in 1877 by a reporter from "The Observer", a London newspaper, although the museum is still referred to as the Crime Museum. It is this museum that inspired THE BLACK MUSEUM radio series, produced in London by Harry Alan Towers. This murder mystery series was based on true life cases from Scotland Yard's files. Each episode was based on an item or items of evidence in the museum. Orsen Welles hosted and narrated the shows. Mr. Welles opened each show slightly differently but followed a standard format. For example, the show, "The Bathtub", open as follows: "This is Orson Welles speaking from London." (Big Ben starts chiming in the background). "The Black Museum, repository of death... Here, in this grim stone structure on the Thames which houses Scotland Yard, is a warehouse of homocide, where everyday objects, a piece of wire, a chemist's flask, a silver shilling, all are touched by murder." (dramatic music) Following the opening, Mr. Welles would introduce the museum's item or items of evidence that was central to the case, leading into the dramatization. He also provided narration during the show and ended each show with his characteristic closing from the days of his Mercury Theater of the Air, remaining "obediently yours". Harry Alan Towers produced the series from scripts written by Ira Marion. Music was composed and conducted by Sidney Torch. The museum was not open to the general public. It's purpose was then, and still is, for police training, although it did receive a considerable number of famous people, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is currently used as a lecture theater for the police and like bodies in various subjects of Criminology. But, thanks to Mr. Towers and Mr. Welles, we can still get a glimpse of what secrets are housed in the Black Museum.
52/01/15 3 The Shoe (Tan Shoe) (Orson Welles hosts the series) 52/01/22 4 The Raincoat 52/01/29 5 The Receipt (Gas Receipt) 52/02/05 6 The Mallet (Old Wooden Mallet) 52/02/12 7 The Jack Handle 52/02/19 8 The White Boxes (Small White Boxes) 52/02/26 9 The Sheet (Spotted Bedsheet) 52/03/04 10 The Telegram 52/03/11 11 The Center Fire .32 (Center Fire Bullet) 52/04/01 14 The Bath Tub 52/04/08 15 The Weed Killer [A Can (or Tin) of Weed Killer] 52/04/15 16 The Leather Bag 52/04/29 18 The Glass Shards 52/05/13 20 The Hammer (A Claw Hammer) 52/05/20 21 Four Small Bottles 52/06/03 23 The Letter (A Letter) 52/06/10 24 The Gladstone Bag (Black Gladstone Bag) 52/10/14 29 The Khaki Handkerchief xx/xx/xx 22 Caliber Pistol, The xx/xx/xx A French-English Dictionary xx/xx/xx A Jar of Acid xx/xx/xx A Lady's Shoes xx/xx/xx A Piece of Iron Chain xx/xx/xx A Prescription xx/xx/xx A Service Card xx/xx/xx A Shilling xx/xx/xx A Silencer xx/xx/xx A Trunk xx/xx/xx A Woman's Pigskin Glove xx/xx/xx Meat Juice xx/xx/xx The Blood Stained Brickbat xx/xx/xx The Brass Button xx/xx/xx The Canvas Bag xx/xx/xx The Car Tire xx/xx/xx The Champagne Glass xx/xx/xx The Door Key xx/xx/xx The Faded Tartan Scarf xx/xx/xx The Hammerhead xx/xx/xx The Mandolin String xx/xx/xx The Notes xx/xx/xx The Open End Wrench xx/xx/xx The Pair of Spectacles xx/xx/xx The Pink Powder Puff xx/xx/xx The Post Card xx/xx/xx The Sash Cord xx/xx/xx The Sheath Knife xx/xx/xx The Shopping Bag xx/xx/xx The Straight Razor xx/xx/xx The Walking Stick xx/xx/xx The Wool Jacket xx/xx/xx Two Bullets