Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Last Tuesday Society / Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities

If like us you're always searching for out of the ordinary experiences, and relish the opportunity to indulge in the down right bizarre, then this is definitely the place for you! 
On Mare Street in Hackney, right next to the Regent's Canal you'll find The Last Tuesday Society / Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities, a gothic/steampunk-style coffee shop and bar with a lot of weird stuff in the cellar! For £4 (£5 with the guide book) you can take the wrought iron spiral staircase down into the chamber of horrors, with a complimentary tea or coffee thrown in (but no biscuit - no matter what the website says!). 
In the basement you'll discover the personal collection of artist Viktor Wynd, and what a collection it is! Creepy dolls, unusual taxidermy and all manner of odd sexual literature and artifacts take centre stage, alongside the gold-plated skull of one of Pablo Escobar's pet hippos, skeletons of all description (including that of a dodo) and celebrity "waste" in jars! This is quite clearly not one for the kids, or the weakhearted for that matter, and nor does it claim to be...

What is great about this collection is the complete disregard for general law and order, everything is so thrown together that some truly bizarre compositions of objects arise out of the chaos. This also means that some stuff is half hidden and easy to miss. On returning home and leafing through the guide book we felt that we had barely seen half of the artifacts on show - repeat visits are a must, and I'm sure new discovers would be made each and every time! 
The idea of this museum is to present "an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder enclosed within a tiny space", no attempt made at classification and comprehensiveness..." and a rejection of "attempts to educate and explain, to put the world into neat little labeled drawers..." This is certainly refreshing, however with such an interestingly eclectic collection I couldn't help feeling that the little information that was provided for certain objects did a lot to enhance the overall experience and I would have loved much more backstory and greater context for this visual feast!

Upstairs in the coffee shop you'll find a back room full of artwork and plenty more curiosities all around, some of which are for sale including two headed teddy bears and crocodile skulls. You can even share a candlelit beverage with half a lion (see below) and as weird as it sounds the atmosphere is strangely calming.
This fascinating venue also plays host to a number of querky events throughout the year including taxidermy classes, a petting zoo in the basement (offering the chance to get up close and personal with lizards, snakes, scorpions and the like), and London's longest running literary salon. 
No matter how much you've planned to pack in during your trip to London if you're an oddity hunter, or simply a fan of the macabre, this is definitely one you can't afford to miss! 

All opinions are my own.