Visit the Natural History Museum 100 years ago. Featuring a wealth of stunning black-and-white photographs from the Museum's archives, this book offers a real flavor of life at one of London's oldest and most famous visitor attractions, from Victorian times until just after World War II. The book focuses on the unusual events that have taken place over the years, the characters working at and visiting the Museum, and of course the remarkable specimens. The photographs go back as far as the 1880s, the earliest years of the Museum, when only a few horse-drawn carriages plied the streets of South Kensington and elephants and gorillas from distant parts of the British Empire were exhibited for the first time. In later years the Museum gardens were to be dug over for vegetable production during World War II and whale carcasses were buried in the grounds to allow the flesh to rot away. Ranging from the amazing to the amusing, the images are evocative and brimming with period detail. The authors are senior archivists and well placed to share their knowledge of the stories that lie behind the silver-nitrate surface of the old photographic prints.
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Polly Parry is the Museum Archivist and Records Manager at the Natural History Museum, London and has an in-depth knowledge of the building’s history, its collections and people. Susan Snell is a former senior archivist at the Natural History Museum, London.
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