The Natural History Museum, London, is the subject of my Pictures of History post this week. I visited on a sunny April day in 2011. I must go back soon, I know the diplodocus cast that had been exhibited in the grand central hall was changed last year and I wonder what else has changed?
My pictures reflect my interests at the time: a lot of architecture – which is awe inspiring and of course, the dinosaurs.
It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in the nineteenth century after the original architect died before he could begin work.
A huge draw to the Natural History Museum is its dinosaur skeleton collection. You are taken up on a mezzanine trackway to get a closer look, perfect for children and those short of stature like me who spend half their life looking up at things!
The museum first opened in April 1881 however its origins lie with the collection of Sir Hans Sloane that was bought by the government below market value after his death in 1753. This formed the basis of the British Museum. A century later Sir Richard Owen pressed the board of trustees for a separate building to house its impressive and ever-expanding natural history specimens.
Halls were designed to house the magnificent specimens such as the blue whale, elephant and giraffe.
Charles Darwin: the museum houses over 1600 works of Darwin and some of the collection can be viewed online for free. Read more here.
Specimens were incorporated into the building, extinct in the east wing and living species in the west wing.
The whole fabric of the building is stunning and is a monument to natural history and the intrepid explorers whose discoveries about our precious earth has informed and delighted us expanding our knowledge for over 250 years.
Other posts in this series.
Images author’s own