Louis Tussaud's Waxworks:part II

By Peter Groves

Unrecognisable today

It’s almost unrecognisable today, however those of you who remembered that Louis Tussard’s Waxworks were housed in the building, which is now Bar Rogue, very well done.  For me there’s no excuse, the wedding reception we were attending was held partly in the very building itself, and we had probably been sitting sipping our drinks inside the old Chamber of Horrors, how on earth did we fail to recognise it?  Probably the main reason is that the building façade has changed so much in the past 50 years!

Harry Preston Suite

The Royal Albion Hotel, was built on the site of Russell House and opened on August 5th 1823.  On the western side, facing the sea, Clive House was built in 1848 and further west, the Lion Mansion Hotel, was built in 1856.  Clive House was run as a boarding house, however for 42 years, between 1937 and 1979 Louis Tussard’s Waxworks operated from the building.  Eventually both buildings were absorbed into the Royal Albion Hotel and now form the Harry Preston Suite, named after the charismatic entrepreneur Sir Harry Preston.

Radio entertainment

It should be remembered, that at that time, very early 1960’s, TV’s were only just becoming commonplace.  I don’t think we had one until around the time the Doctor Who series started, which was on the 23rd November 1963.  Up until the arrival of our TV, life was very dull, with only the radio to listen to.  Most programmes seemed to be for adults, with only a few to interest me.  Pick of the Pops was one, which started in 1955, however its Top 20 format began with David Jacobs in 1958, then soon moved to its regular Sunday early evening slot, which I remember!  The only other radio programme that I took any interest in was The Clitheroe Kid, so a visit Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks was a very special occasion.

Only made of wax

From the main entrance of the Royal Albion Hotel, the route to the Harry Preston Suite is interesting; through a warren of passage ways, twists and turns, down through the basement, which I suspect once housed the old Chamber of Horrors, before coming up again into the dining area.  Above the old Chamber of Horrors were the celebrities of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, Laurence Olivier, Bette Davis, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, The Beatles, Harold Wilson and The Stones, we loved to gawk at them all, even if they were only made of wax!

Photo:Louis Tussaud's Waxworks c. 1940

Louis Tussaud's Waxworks c. 1940

From the private collection of Peter Groves

Photo:Bar Rogue 2010

Bar Rogue 2010

Peter Groves

This page was added on 07/11/2010.
Comments about this page

I remember being fascinated and quite scared of the Ali Baba pots in the window with moving heads popping out from them at Louis Tussauds in the fifties.

By Jen (10/11/2010)

I remember the waxworks like yesterday. As I was born in 1962 I am sure that they didn't close until the early seventies. The photo in the link below is from 1965. I vividly remember- The Pit and the Pendulum, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, Noddy and Big ears, Coronation Street, Cliff Richard, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Red Indians Hanging from Hooks. Does anyone want to add to the list? And of course the sign outside "New Waxworks", (not yet there in the photos on this site). Also you had to pay extra for the chamber of horrors and in the main section there were posters advertising it. These were already very dated when I used to visit and were in black and white. I remember being surprised at these old posters in what seemed at the time to be a very modern waxworks. Also at one time Ali Bab was removed and the window scene was replaced by ...... ohg I wish i could remember. Can anyone help? http://media.thewho.com/non_secure/images/20071220/65_brighton_pier_waxworks/65_brighton_pier_waxworks_640.jpg

By David Jones (09/12/2010)

I am very pleased to add an extremely rare colour picture of Louis Tussauds as many of us rememeber it. Note the Popeye figure!!!!! http://www5.pic-upload.de/11.12.10/basmgq5ndpjr.jpg

By David Jones (12/12/2010)

I actually have 5 or six of those very same advertising posters myself, they were actually large black and white photographs mounted on black card, with hand painted messages on them. They measure about 16 inches by about 36 inches high, in black frames and behind glass. I got them from the auction which they held to sell off most of the artifacts in about 1978. I will get them out and photograph them for this site when I next get a chance. I too would love to see a photograph of the advertising board as well, if I remember right, it used to hang on the left hand wall, just before you entered the Chamber of Horrors.

By Sim (28/02/2012)

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