todays post is on one of my all time favourites, the Natural History Museum: in London. Actually my primary school was very close so I have happy memories of many visits as a child. Here are some images of the outside of it (the main entrance) and of the dinosaur in the main hall. In-cred-i-ble!

The building itself is a piece of art, and a real treasure trove of beauty and science.

The foundation of the collection was that of the Ulster doctor Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), who allowed his significant collections to be purchased by the British Government at a price well below their market value at the time.

Work began on this building in Kensington in 1873 and was completed in 1880. The museum opened in 1881, although the move from the previous building was not fully completed until 1883.

Both the interiors and exteriors of the Waterhouse building make extensive use of terracotta tiles to resist the sooty climate of  Victorian era London. The tiles and bricks feature many relief sculptures of flora and fauna, with living and extinct species featured within the west and east wings respectively.

This explicit separation was at the request of Mr Richard Owen, appointed Superintendent of the natural history departments of the British Museum in 1856, and has been seen as a statement of his contemporary rebuttal of Darwin’s attempt to link present species with past through the theory of Natural Selection. Clever hey?

The central axis of the museum is aligned with the tower of The Imperial College, london  and the Royal Albert hall and the Albert memorial further north.

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nat-hist-main-hall-dino

” Dippy ” — is a 105-foot (32 m) long replica Diplodocus carnegii skeleton, situated within the central hall. The cast was given as a gift by Andrew Carnegie the Scottish American industrialist, after a discussion with King Edwars VII, then a keen trustee of the British Museum. Carnegie arranged for the cast to be created at his own considerable expense of £2000, copying the original held at the Carnegie Museum.

The pieces were sent to London in 36 crates, and on the 12th May 1905, the exhibit was unveiled, to great public and media interest.

The dinosaur quickly became an iconic representation of the museum, and has featured in many cartoons and other media.

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