CHEK Upside: Meet the Saanich man with over 300 wax heads

CHEK Upside: Meet the Saanich man with over 300 wax heads
WatchWhen the Royal London Wax Museum shut down in 2010 its owner Ken Lane was forced to store over 300 wax heads in his basement. Cole Sorenson has more.

It’s a question that usually would end in an arrest. How many heads do you have in your basement?

“325 at last count, but there’s probably a few more than that now,” answers Ken Lane.

Fortunately for Lane those heads are made of wax.

Lane is the former owner of the Royal London Wax Museum, which for nearly 50 years was a fixture of Victoria’s inner harbour and a constant source of fun for patrons and staff alike.

“It was almost like being a performer on stage, you gear your success standards by the reaction of the people coming through,” says Lane. “We were always fine-tuning what we did to improve as much as possible the reactions, the enjoyment, of the people coming through the museum.”

When the museum closed its doors in 2010, Lane was tasked with storing all of the displays. The fibreglass bodies used could easily be tucked away in ordinary storage units, but the wax heads needed to be in a climate-controlled environment.

“The wax figures, there is chemicals put into the beeswax that does increase the range of temperatures that they can handle,” says Lane.

“But a basement environment is fairly constant, it doesn’t change more than five degrees year-round, so it’s pretty perfect actually.”

Now all the heads reside in his basement waiting for the day that they can go on display, but Lane says that won’t be in Victoria.

“Victoria quite deliberately has gone away from the little bit of old England and so it’s not as marketable as it once was,” says Lane. “We need a mainland destination, we need a larger city with a bigger pool of specialties.”

Until then Lane will have to keep the likes of Queen Victoria and Robbie Burns entertained himself.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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