Functional design

Alfred Waterhouse made artistic features out of even the most basic practical fittings. His ornamental vent covers are a fine example of this. Waterhouse also put golden flying fishes on the lightning conductors on the towers, and dragonflies, beetles and trilobites on the air vents outside the building.

  • Waterhouse's designs for floor vents.
    Clean air and heating

    Learn about the innovative ventilation and heating system Waterhouse introduced, which is similar to systems being adopted in environmentally-friendly buildings today.

  • Bomb damage sustained during World War II.
    Bomb damage

    Find out about bomb damage caused during World War II and how Waterhouse’s system helped feed the resulting fire.

  • The Cryptogamic Herbaria.

    Discover the inside secrets of the Museums herbaria with their millions of specimens and artworks.

  • Behind the scenes
    Behind the scenes - 01/01/2005 (video)

    In this video, Museum botanist Sandy Knapp gives an insight into the work that goes on behind the Herbarium doors.

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.