A cabinet of controversy: Littledean Jail
Tucked away in the depths of The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire sits Littledean Jail, an 18th century former jailhouse turned museum of horrors.
It has been branded as the home of all things freaky, so driven by my curiosity and the bold red message on the website stating;
“IF EASILY OFFENDED, DISTURBED, OR OF A SENSITIVE NATURE, WE STRONGLY URGE THAT YOU AVOID VISITING” — so of course I dropped in for a snoop around.
Once I had overcome the outrage of being slapped with a £10 entrance fee, I was quickly distracted by an overwhelming amalgamation of…stuff. The museum’s impressive but sporadic array of niche artifacts and collections span everything from Satanism, The SAS, Fascism, James Bond and the artistic creations of mass-murderer Charles Bronson.
Even amid the haunting Ku Klux Klan memorabilia and the shockingly executed taxidermy collection (which still looked to be in the festering grips of decomposition), the most alarming part of the exhibition was a small scene involving Barbie and Ken dolls. The diorama used the dolls to insensitively re-enact a brutal assault in the makeshift bedroom of a Nazi war camp, all in the shadow of a large ominous swastika.
Through the next door was the original corridor of jail cells- interesting- except I could barely account for the historical value because plastered on each wall from ceiling to floor were hundreds of tabloid cutouts. They archived everything from celebrity boob-jobs and sex-tapes to phone hacking and sensationalised political scandals.
This museum is bizarre and unforgivably callous, albeit completely fascinating. The fact that it was virtually impossible to digest the entire contents in one session may warrant a second visit.