Marie Tussaud (1761–1850) was born in Strasbourg and created her first wax figure, of Voltaire, in 1777. In 1835 she opened her museum in Baker Street, London, between Dorset Street and King Street – the Chamber of Horrors, with wax figures of victims of the French Revolution and murderers and various nasty criminals. Yes, Sherlock Holmes lived on the same street, at 221b – but at the time of those stories street numbers in Baker Street only went up to 100. Arthur Conan Doyle was being careful – he was writing fiction. But the Chamber of Horrors on Baker Street had inspired him. The section north of Marylebone Road, near Regent's Park, now includes 221 Baker Street, but back then that was Upper Baker Street. In 1883 Tussaud's grandson commissioned the building that is now the famous Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, on Marylebone Road. It's all very odd.
Now Madame Tussauds is a worldwide chain of wax museums – and the criminals and gore are long gone, replaced by celebrities. And this summer Hollywood finally got its very own Madame Tussauds – brand new, fancy and modern, right next to Grauman's Chinese Theater. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would not approve.