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In honour of #MuseumWeek, I have (badly) photographed (sorry) the guidebook for the weird and wonderful Wax Museum at Brading, Isle of Wight, where I grew up. I’m not sure if it’s my earliest museum memory, but it certainly made an impression, probably because of all the gore and excessive nudity, which was possibly a bit much for a primary school visit (if I’ve remembered that right).
Below is a slideshow of my own photos from inside the museum which also shows the fantastic taxidermy section, full of such (un)natural wonders as the winged cat, mermaid, and yeti (view on flickr for captions/attempted explanations). Sadly, the museum closed in 2009, saying that they were just not making enough money and visitor numbers were too low. This resulted in a rather spectacular auction of their collection, as described in this Daily Mail article and this Morbid Anatomy post.
(edit: just realised I’ve been bigging up the winged cat, but don’t actually have a photo, could have sworn I did. Anyway, there is one on this page).
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I think if I ever become a billionaire I will track down all the pieces and recreate the museum.
9 thoughts on “Brading’s bizarre and wonderful wax museum, Isle of Wight #museumweek #museummemories”
What a fabulous, eccentric and thoroughly British museum. Such a shame: I’d loved to have seen that before it closed (and watched the faces of guardians of primary school children!).
I know, right? I can’t imagine what they were thinking taking us on school visits here. But it is a shame it shut, I think perhaps they didn’t really know how to pitch it. It had that eccentric appeal as you say, but I suspect they didn’t see it quite like that or know how to market to an audience that would be really into that.
This looked like the most amazing museum! The first time I visited the IoW was in 2010, so I must have just missed it. I do remember when the Yeti was up for auction, but it was sadly way out of my price range. 🙁 Thanks for sharing your photos!
Yeah, I even phoned up the auction house to get a sense of prices but couldn’t afford anything. Some day… I seem to remember a brilliant written account of the winner of the yeti trying to get it home in a taxi but I can’t find it now.
Hi there. Just stumbled across your blog as am always googling news/memories of my beloved wax museum. If you haven’t already, please join my facebook page ‘remembering the isle of wight wax museum’
We have hundreds of members and many many photos
thanks Lucy, I will!
Hi everybody, I had the privilege of working on the wax works when the roof was thatched. I worked along side of the two very skilled thatchers, putting on the lead work between the two roofs and the stone chimney. I agree that it was a shame when the waxworks was closed but I have fond memories of those times. Mr Osbourne Smith was quite a showman collecting all the artefacts for the exibitions. I have family ties with Brading as My GG Grandmother was the Midwife. She live in a house in the Bullring. My Grand father lived with her as a child as his mother died of T.B. when he was young.
Thanks for your comment Ray! You might be interested in posting this on the Facebook group for remembering the wax works https://www.facebook.com/groups/163683538844/?fref=ts