Cranfield's Curiosity Cabinet – Southend-on-Sea, England - Atlas Obscura
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Southend-on-Sea, England

Cranfield's Curiosity Cabinet

A magnificent menagerie of oddities, including taxidermy cryptids.  

Sometimes the quiet seaside suburbs can hide the strangest things. In this collection of curios tucked away on a quiet Leigh-on-Sea street between the Waitrose and the corner shop, you will find everything from obscure movie props to taxidermy cryptozoological specimens.

The first thing you’ll notice about Cranfield’s Curiosity Cabinet is the seasonally changing window display. It may have anything from a human skeleton enjoying a can of beer from its deckchair looking out on the pavement to Santa swinging from the ceiling, riding on the back of swan. This roadside presentation gives a pretty good indication of what wonders are to be found within.

The cabinet consists of a front room lined with a wide array of large taxidermy animals of all kinds presented in a host of poses. Behind a suitably mysterious curtain, you might be led to a second room. It’s here where things get truly weird.

Recreations of famous movie monsters from Gremlins to Del Torro’s underground dweller in Pan’s Labyrinth sit alongside five-legged fawns and any number of mythical beasts. All of which have fantastic whimsical portmanteau names that your hosts will be more than happy to share with you. Ask about the krittens, for example. This room can be hired out for your own events. It’s perfectly suited for that Addams Family-themed dinner party or seance you were planning.

A third room contains even more strange things, many of which are not on display and a polite request and a big smile may get you a glimpse further into the rabbit hole, should you want to dip your toes deeper into this bizarre world. The collection is used for events of all kinds, from private parties hosted in the back room to conventions and photoshoots around the country. 

Know Before You Go

As a result of this busy schedule of touring the animals, masks, and displays around, the shop keeps odd and somewhat inconsistent hours, only adding to the unpredictable nature of the collection.

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