Cathedral of Nature

Hintze Hall (formerly the Central Hall) is testament to the vision of the Museum’s founder, Richard Owen. Owen wanted the new Museum to be grand, fit for the status of Victorian Britain and spacious enough to display large mammals such as whales and elephants, as well as extinct monsters such as Diplodocus, a cast of which has stood in here for the past 100 years.

When Richard Owen took charge of the natural history collections at the British Museum in Bloomsbury, the British Empire was expanding and explorers were discovering exotic new species of animals and plants in far-flung places. This fuelled Owen’s determination to create a museum that would do justice to this amazing diversity of nature.

The Natural History Museum from Cromwell Road, 1880.
History of the Museum

Trace the evolution of the Natural History Museum, from Hans Sloane's collections at the British Museum to cutting-edge research taking place today.