51.5 MB (7.0 MB compressed)
5141 x 3504 pixels
43.4 x 29.7 cm ⏐ 17.1 x 11.7 in (300dpi)
PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Holiday Time: British Museum by F. Smith in the Illustrated London News 1873. This image shows the general public visiting one of the natural history rooms in the British Museum (before the Natural History Museum separated to South Kensington). Visible in back are the Gorilla specimens that caused a sensation when sold to Richard Owen by Paul Du Chaillu in 1860 (Darwins 'Origins' published 1860, 'Descent of Man' published 1871). Opening the museum to the public was contentious, but had Richard Owen's support. In 1835 the BM principle Librarian Sir Henry Ellis noted "the more vulgar class would crowd into the museum" "sailors from dock yards and girls whom they might bring with them" "the more important class of the population would be discontented". It was not untill 1879 that daily opening hours allowed the working class to regularly visit the museum.
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