Edinburgh World Heritage

28 Thistle Street - Madam Tussaud's Waxworks

In 1803 this building hosted one of the worlds most famous attractions - Madame Tussaud’s waxworks.

Taking advantage of a brief peace between Britain and France, Madame Tussaud arrived in Edinburgh with her young son. She set up her exhibition here at 28 Thistle Street, known at the time as Bernard’s Rooms and used to teach dancing to Edinburgh’s middle-classes.

Her ‘Grand European Cabinet of Figures’ included life-sized models of the French royal family, only recently executed, and an Egyptian mummy said to be 3299 years old.

Although the exhibition had a slow start, soon Edinburgh society was flocking to see her waxworks. Madame Tussaud wrote that, “the Edinburgh show gives a great deal of pleasure and everyone is amazed”. She returned to Edinburgh with different shows several times, and finally settled in London in 1835.

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