Early visitors

Feedback at the time was varied and opinions mixed. The quotations below reflect the feeling of the times.

‘Mr Waterhouse’s beautiful Romanesque building’

Saturday Review, 18 April 1881

‘ornamented – if so it may be termed – both externally and internally with incorrect and grotesque representations of animals….’

‘…the style of the building being more, much more adapted for a suburban tea-garden than a national museum’

The Field, 28 April: 1881

‘…they (Londoners) will now have the opportunity of pursuing the most delightful of all studies in a true Temple of Nature, showing, as it should, the Beauty of Holiness…’

‘The walls and ceilings are decorated, as befits a Palace of Nature, with all the varieties of animal and vegetable life’

The Times,18 April,1881

‘the animal’s Westminster Abbey’

FW Thomas

‘a serious mistake has been made in the erection of a building with such elaborate and ornate internal decorations for museum purposes’

‘illumination of the cases has in many instances been sacrificed to a fear of interfering with the general architectural effect.’

Nature, April 1881

‘a very fine illustration of what can be done with terracotta as a material for architectural embellishment on a great scale’

Builder, 1878