Ken Lane, former director of the Royal London Wax Museum, pours tea for Queen Victoria in his Saanich home. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Ken Lane, former director of the Royal London Wax Museum, pours tea for Queen Victoria in his Saanich home. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Outside Ken Lane’s Saanich home, the Monarchist League of Canada’s crown-emblazoned golden flag blows in the wind. Inside, Princess Diana rubs elbows with Charles Dickens over an imaginary cup of tea.

Ken Lane, former director of the Royal London Wax Museum, hopes to see wax figure tourism revived, a decade after the museum closed. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

It’s one of the more unusual scenes created for the potential arrival of Meghan and Harry – but Lane’s wax figures have been in “discussion” for weeks over the couple’s potential abandonment of their royal positions.

READ ALSO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might leave Greater Victoria for Tinseltown

Lane once operated Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum, an attraction boasting more than 300 wax figures modeled after politicians, celebrities, folklore characters, historical figures and, of course, royals.

“The most popular storytelling part of the museum was Henry VIII and his six wives,” Lane recalled. “But the most significant, regal wax figure was the Queen Mother. The way she was positioned, the way the lighting would hit her, the way she was glowed and the tiara that she wore. Everything about that figure was just perfect.”

And Lane seems to have a deep connection with the figures. He could sense when something was amiss in the museum.

“One day something didn’t feel right,” he said. “I went most of the way through the museum before I realized Elvis Presley had tipped over.”

In 2010 – after 50 years in operation – the museum shut down. Now most of the glass-eyed, human-haired, beeswax figures are stored in Lane’s climate-controlled basement. There is a potential for melting, but Lane said the figures – which can run for more than $30,000 each – are created with a preservative that aids sculpting and raises the melting temperature.

Notably, each human hair is inserted strand by strand.

At the behest of interested media, a small group of the figures were brought up for tea around Lane’s dining room table, shortly after he learned of the possibility that a certain young Royal couple might be moving to Vancouver Island.

Princess Diana gazes across the table at Winston Churchill and his bulldog, both seated next to Captain Cook. Across from the captain is Charles Dickens, and on either end sit royal matriarchs, Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria, both in glittering crowns and regal attire.

Wax figures Charles Dickens, Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II enjoy tea with Winston Churchill, Captain Cook and Queen Victoria in Ken Lane’s Saanich home. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

So far, he says the group hasn’t had much to comment about Harry and Meghan’s decision to distance themselves from royal life.

“They won’t talk while we’re here,” Lane said with a laugh.

Lane remains hopeful there will be a wax figure revival. He said he has looked at properties around Canada including a handful in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C., but hasn’t found anything suitable.

“We’ve been kinda slow at finding a new home but it’s also a process of trying different locations and checking out the real estate and tourism market,” he said. “Hope springs eternal. It really depends on the city and the building that you end up in.”

For now, the wax figures represent a moment in the history of Victoria tourism. But any one of them might be lucky enough to come out of storage and share a cup of tea with their dedicated owner and advocate.

READ ALSO: Michael Buble becomes latest Canadian star to get waxed at Madame Tussauds



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

MuseumTourism VictoriaVictoria Royals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Education advisor Tom McEvay congratulates two Alberni Valley Bulldogs on their high academic achievements for the 2015-16 season: Quinn Syrydiuk, left, for college and Cayden Kraus for high school. (KAICEE TROTT PHOTO)
BCHL: Port Alberni’s Tom McEvay joins Coquitlam Express as education advisor

McEvay now schools players for three teams, including Alberni and Nanaimo

Gary Bender from Bailey Electric secures two art banners on lampposts at Argyle Street and Sixth Avenue in May 2020. Despite a delay due to COVID-19 measures, the Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith was able to collect and put up half of the art banners it usually does in the Rotary Arts District. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Rotary Arts District banner program switches to ‘paint at home’ for 2021

Arrowsmith Rotary Club needs 80 registrations to go ahead this year

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
BUDGET 2021: City of Port Alberni looks at tax increase of 3.95 percent

City of Port Alberni held its first budget meeting of the year

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and City of Port Alberni have chosen the Voyent Alert! app for emergency notifications. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni, ACRD unveil new emergency alert system

Program is a response to criticism of botched communication after 2018 tsunami warning

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

Most Read