Joel Griggs grew up fascinated with all things crime related. After spotting some abandoned caves along the Hastings waterfront -caves which turned out to have previously housed everything from hotel generators to druid groups at the turn of the 19th century- he immediately saw their potential.
Joel decided to use his lifelong interest in crime to set up his very own True Crime Museum, which, with the help of a £12,000 Start Up Loan, he was able to open in August 2014.
The museum brings together a wide range of items, including the acid vats that famous serial killer John George Haigh used to kill his victims, and some of the belongings of the now jailed American terrorist Ted Kaczynski, known as the ‘Unabomber’. Alongside the exhibits there are monthly events from guest speakers and a cinema cave where famous murderers describe their deadly deeds.
Currently, the True Crime Museum has 4 full time employees and a host of part time workers. Its location on the waterfront is becoming its primary attraction as the once derelict Hastings Pier is being renovated which is sure to increase footfall in the area.
Joel sources his material from across the world and remains the only museum dedicated to true crime in the region. In fact, there is very little competition nationwide. Joel also works with local police and victim support groups to highlight the devastating effects that crime can have on people and aims to use the museum as an educational venue.
The Museum has been fortunate to welcome many student group visits, with an expanded range of group discount packages now on offer including ‘Curators Tours’ and ‘True CRIME Walks of Hastings’.
With a successful year, further investment was made into the Museum: a once derelict area with no roof is now opening in January 2017 as ‘The CRIME Lab’ – a new hands on interactive area for forensic investigations. Further to this, their popular events list is growing for 2017, with date nights, crime walks, exhibitions, bands and more! The True CRIME Club is 400 members strong and growing and, in August, the Museum will be hosting a special member’s day and launching further promotions for members.
The Museum is hired for exclusive out of hours use for parties and paranormal and ghost investigation groups and, since the re-opening of Hastings Pier last May, the footfall of the area has increased and the Museum has benefited from more passing trade.
The True CRIME Museum won a Highly Commended award for Tourism and Leisure Business of the Year at the 1066 Awards.