Hope still burns for wax museum

By Jenny Manzer

What will become of the stars of the Royal London Wax Museum?

Photo: Courtesy of the Royal London Wax Museum. Wax statues of Margaret Thatcher and Marilyn Monroe.

It may be the only time the Iron Lady and the Blonde Bombshell posed together. Margaret Thatcher and Marilyn Monroe were photographed at a Greater Victoria event to fete the 2012 Oscars, when films about both women were nominated. The meeting went smoothly, since the famous figures were fashioned from wax.

The icons came from the Royal London Wax Museum collection, which welcomed visitors for close to 50 years in downtown Victoria before closing in 2010. The family-run business, located at the historic Canadian Pacific Steamship building for most of its life, featured 300 figures. The last to be added was a $20,000 replica of U.S. President Barack Obama, made in London, England.

The museum kept afloat financially, but was unable to retain its Inner Harbour location for various reasons, including the need for seismic upgrading. That has left the museum without a home in recent years, with all the dismantled pieces kept in temperaturecontrolled storage in an undisclosed location. The Royal London was the only wax museum in the province and during its heyday in the 1980s received 300,000 to 400,000 visitors a year. In 1962, this magazine called it “one of the foremost attractions in the capital city.

“The crowds were enormous, the interest was Canada-wide and American visitors went away talking to themselves,” we reported. The beloved museum, which started in 1961 at Crystal Gardens, is gone but not forgotten. Owner Ken Lane is regularly asked about the collection by fans and says he is currently investigating new locations in Western Canada.

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