Natural History Museum

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London


Natural History Museum

 
The Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Muse­um is the largest nat­ur­al his­to­ry col­lec­tion in the world, with over 70 mil­lion spec­i­mens, based on the Cromwell Road in South Kens­ing­ton. It orig­i­nat­ed with the col­lec­tion of nat­ur­al curiosi­ties left to the nation by Sir Hans Sloane in 1753. This at first formed part of the British Muse­um but as oth­er col­lec­tions were added the gov­ern­ment agreed to fund a pur­pose-built home that was designed in Ger­man Romanesque style by Alfred Water­house (1830–1905) and opened in 1881.

The neigh­bour­ing Geo­log­i­cal Muse­um, on Exhi­bi­tion Road, merged with the Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Muse­um in 1985 and is now referred to as the museum’s ‘Red Zone’. The Dar­win Cen­tre is a new­ly built exten­sion to the NHM that serves as a research cen­tre and hous­es 20 mil­lion insect and plant spec­i­mens. Its show­piece is a pub­lic view­ing gallery that takes the form of an eight-storey cocoon in its atri­um.
 
Natural History Museum exterior