On the outside it looks like a gimmicky goth bar, small enough to house maybe a couple of people before getting uncomfortable. Step inside however and you will find yourself in a world of nightmarish fantasy and macabre magic unlike anything you have seen before.
The Last Tuesday Society, which originated in 1873’s Harward University as a means of preserving rare specimens, was brought to London in 2006 by Viktor Wynd. Wynd and his associates remain the benefactors for this small but exquisite Wunderkabinett, the first to open in London since the Horniman in 1901.
Full of bizarre artefacts, dead things, and gruesome erotica, this museum is not for the faint hearted. What stops it from becoming horrific is the tongue-in-cheek nature of the exhibits; they are obviously intended as a bit of fun and not to offend. Among them you can find remnants of David Bowie’s stolen mullet in a glass bottle, a sex manual for Irish farmers, a ‘mermonkey’, and the glittering Savile Row suit that once belonged to ‘Bright Young Thing’ Stephen Tennant.
There are some truly beautiful things in this museum, like an impressive array of stunning pinned butterflies and insects from around the world. The presence of such rare beauties elevates all of the junk to the same level of mysticism, so that every pickled spider, two-headed teddy bear, and vintage Happy Meal toy bears the same air of magic and wonder.
Particularly of interest to me was the exhibit showcasing Tennant’s photographs, suit, and books, as Tennant was a childhood idol of mine. Like many hella gay writers before me, he has been a model for a lot of my fictional characters. There was also an exhibit showcasing multiple portraits by occultist Austin Osman Sprare, again a figure who intrigued me in my teenaged years (we all go through that Thelema phase at 17, right?).
If all of this seems too morbid, there is one aspect of the museum that is guaranteed to warm your heart. You can pet a bunch of friendly reptiles, co-erced and comforted by two lovely professional animal handlers. Among these scaly sweeties are a chameleon, a small bearded dragon, a young and playful snake, and a wonderful african toad named Bob. They are all completely docile and will let you pick them up and stroke them for hours on end.
If you’re still exhausted and want to forget everything you have seen, fret not, as the bar serves some delicious classic and original cocktails, which you can enjoy by candle light and the incandescent glow from the large in-house aquarium. I recommend ‘Bloody Bitters’, a decedent mixture of absinthe, raspberry chambord, and other red ingredients which have since slipped my mind.
11 Mare Street, London, E8 4RP | Wednesday to Sunday 12pm – 10:30pm | Entry £5