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The Natural History Museum's real treasure? The building itself

A blue whale skeleton hangs in the Natural History Museum
A blue whale skeleton hangs in the Natural History Museum Credit: Getty Images

Distracted by the Natural History Museum’s remarkable contents, it is easy to overlook the magnificence of its architecture; but it is one of Britain’s finest Victorian buildings. It grew out of the natural history department of the British Museum, which by the 1850s was bursting at the seams; this coincided with the movement, inspired by the Prince Consort in the aftermath of the Great Exhibition of 1851 (and using its profits), to devote South Kensington to the arts and sciences. The Natural History Museum would be a central part of what is now known as Albertopolis, along with the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Albert Hall, the Royal Colleges of Music and of Organists,...

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