Luke Honey | Decorative Antiques, Chess, Backgammon & Games

One of our Dinosaurs is Missing...

June 25, 2013

Back in my university days, I spent a happy summer vacation renting a tiny set of rooms on the Cromwell Road, South Kensington, directly opposite the Natural History Museum. I had one of those temporary summer jobs at the dreaded Harrods Sale. Not that I was any good at this (I had been banished to the Linens Department, of all places, having, not unreasonably, put my name down for the Art Gallery). But I did get to know the Natural History Museum rather well, and consequently, it's now quite possibly my favourite building in London; the Natural History Museum is a terrific building.


Designed by Alfred Waterhouse and built between 1873 and 1880, the building is clad in attractive creamy pink terracotta tiles, which were supposed to resist the London Smogs. 


If you look closely, you'll discover all sorts of gargoyles, mythical beast and strange animals. 

And what of the famous dinosaur in the Main Hall?  I'm really sorry to disappoint you, but it ain't real; it is, I think, a Victorian or Edwardian reconstruction made up from various castings. "Dippy" the diplodocus, was born in May, 1905, and given to the museum by Andrew Carnegie at special request of The King (Edward VII) who had seen an original illustration of the skeleton at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.


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