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1830 Old British Museum Montagu House

1830 Old British Museum Montagu House

C011/0915

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The British Museum in Montagu House, Great Russel (sic) Street. Engraved by William Henshall from a study by T.H. Shepherd. From Shepherd's series "London and its Environs in the Nineteenth Century" published London 1829-1832. Note the armed guard outside. The Museum, founded from Sir Hans Sloane's collection, first opened in 1759 in the mansion pictured here. The new (current) British Museum was built on this site with work already begun in 1823. Until 1881 the Natural History collections were held in this building, but their curation was generally deemed so poor that few left collections here. After his Beagle voyage Darwin wrote to Henslow in 1836 "I cannot feel, from all I hear, any great respect even for the present state of that establishment". His fossil mammals went to Richard Owen in the Hunterian Museum, Birds went to Gould of the Royal Zoological Society etc.

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