British Museum of Natural History

Posted by Richard Dong on Wed, 03/13/13 23:25
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Comments by Jan Bjorklund on Thu, 03/14/13 06:45

Your inclusion of the people at different locations within the British Museum of Natural History helps with the scale of the interior view. I also like the manner in which the light plays across the interior highlighting various portions of the walls and stairs.

Comments by Michael Meek on Thu, 03/14/13 14:29

Lovely. Such history. I wonder if that beautiful and enlightening ray of light could have struck Darwin or Newton. Or maybe even Tarzan?

But no, I see on Wikipedia that this building went up in the late 1800s.

I thought this was interesting:
Most of the Sloane collection had disappeared by the early decades of the nineteenth century. Sir George Shaw (Keeper of Zoology 1806-13) sold many specimens to the Royal College of Surgeons. His successor William Elford Leach made periodical bonfires in the grounds of the museum.[3] In 1833 the Annual Report states that, of the 5,500 insects listed in the Sloane catalogue, none remained. The inability of the natural history departments to conserve its specimens became notorious: the Treasury refused to entrust it with specimens collected at the government's expense. Appointments of staff were bedevilled by gentlemanly favoritism; in 1862 a nephew of the mistress of a Trustee was appointed Entomological Assistant despite not knowing the difference between a butterfly and a moth.[4][5]

J. E. Gray (Keeper of Zoology 1840-74) complained of the incidence of mental illness amongst staff: George Shaw threatened to put his foot on any shell not in the 12th edition of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae; another had removed all the labels and registration numbers from entomological cases arranged by a rival. The huge collection of conchologist Hugh Cuming was acquired by the museum, and Gray's own wife had carried the open trays across the courtyard in a gale: all the labels blew away. That collection is said never to have recovered.[6]

The Principal Librarian at the time was Antonio Panizzi; his contempt for the natural history departments and for science in general was total. The general public was not encouraged to visit the Museum's natural history exhibits. In 1835 to a Select Committee of Parliament, Sir Henry Ellis said this policy was fully approved by the Principal Librarian and his senior colleagues.

Comments by G.B. SHETTLER on Thu, 03/14/13 17:52

Thanks Michael ! Looks like it is quite the building. Great that you captured that large beam of light, Richard. Also interesting is the multi levels, for a building of that age.

Comments by Paul Bracey on Wed, 08/08/18 22:22

That light! Brilliant.