Alt Ref NoDF ZOO
DescriptionDF200 Keeper of Zoology's Correspondence and Files
DF201 Keeper of Zoology's Out-letters
DF202 Department of Zoology: Keeper's Miscellaneous Documents
DF203 Keeper of Zoology's wartime Papers and Memoranda
DF204 Registers and Indexes of Zoology Departmental Correspondence
DF205 Zoology Reports to Trustees and other Official Documents
DF206 Keeper of Zoology's Subject Files
DF207 Zoology Departmental Finance and Accounts
DF208 Keeper of Zoology's Staff Files and Official Diaries
DF209 Zoology Reports of Progress, Monthly and Annual
DF210 Keeper of Zoology's Building and Accommodation Files
DF211 Keeper of Zoology's Publication Files
DF212 Keeper of Zoology's Confidential Files
DF213 Keeper of Zoology's Expedition Files
DF214 [number not in use]
DF215 [number not in use]
DF216 Zoology Acquisition, Loan and Exchange Records
DF217 Zoology Artwork for publication
DF218 Zoology Accession Registers
DF219 Zoology Collection Catalogues
DF220 Zoology Departmental Visitor Books
DF221 Deputy Keeper's Subject Files
DF230 Bird Section Correspondence
DF231 Vertebrate Section, Reports to Trustees and other Official Documents
DF232 Mammal Section Correspondence
DF233 Fish Section Correspondence
DF234 Osteology Section Subject Files
DF235 Reptile Section Correspondence
DF237 Bird Section, Collection Records and Administration
DF238 Mammals Section, Papers and Subject Files
DF239 Osteology Section Correspondence and Papers
DF250 Invertebrate Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF251 Invertebrate Section, Reports to Trustees and other Official Documents
DF252 Crustacea Section Correspondence
DF253 Coelenterata Section Correspondence
DF254 Mollusca Section Correspondence
DF255 Arachnida Section Correspondence and Papers
DF257 Coelenterata Section Research Papers
DF258 Coelenterata Section Collection Records
DF259 Parasitic Worms Section Correspondence
DF260 Sponge Section Correspondence
DF261 Bryozoa Section Correspondence
DF262 Invertebrate Section Visitor Books
DF263 Sponge Section, Photographs and Artwork for Publication
DF264 Echinodermata and Protochordata Section Correspondence
DF265 Annelida Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF266 Echinodermata and Protochordata Section Research Papers
DF267 Taxidermy and Preparation
DF268 Parasitology Section Research Papers
DF269 Biometrics and Computing Section
DF270 Zoology Library Accession Records
DF271 Zoology Library Correspondence and Memoranda
DF272 Zoology Library Catalogues and Related Material
DF273 Fish Section Papers
Held_ByNHM Archives
AdminHistoryThe Department of Zoology has its origins in the Department of Natural and Artificial Productions which was set up at the founding of the British Museum in 1756. In 1806 it was renamed the Department of Natural History and Modern Curiosities and was under the keepership of George Shaw (1751-1813) and later Charles Dietrich Eberhard Konig (1774-1851). Most of the records from this period remain in the archives of the British Museum, though there are a number of early letters and reports included in DF200 and DF205.

In 1837 the Natural History Department was divided into three branches, of which Zoology was one under the keepership of Children, and in 1856 the branch was given the status of a department, with John Edward Gray (1800-1875) as first Keeper, and a staff of 15. Gray made great progress in registering, cataloguing and exhibiting the growing collections, and was the first zoologist to gain and deserve scientific eminence through his work at the Museum. Although Gray pressed long and hard for a move to larger premises, he had been succeeded by Dr A Gunther (1830-1914) by the time the move to South Kensington took place in 1883. When Gunther retired in 1895 the department had a staff of 35, divided into the Vertebrate, Invertebrate and Insect Sections. In 1913 the Insect Section became the separate Department of Entomology.

In 1922 the department was divided into nine sections, including Mammals, Birds, Fishes, Mollusca and Crustacea. The number and precise designation of the sections has changed over the years, and by 1965 there were 17, each with its own head, and keeping its own records.
By 1965 the department was responsible for one of the largest and most important collections of zoological material in the world, and was an international centre for research in animal taxonomy and systematics. The research was supported by a fine departmental library, rich in manuscripts and rare books. The department was also responsible, in conjunction with the exhibition staff, for displays in the zoological galleries. Staff numbered 98, who between them saw to nearly 5,000 visitors a year, coped with the acquisition of over 35,000 specimens a year, and were responsible for over 100 monographs, papers and reports.

The Department of Zoology was subsumed into the Department of Life Sciences (along with the Department of Entomology and the Department of Botany) as part of the restructure of Science by the Director of Science in 2012. As part of the restructure, the position of Keeper no longer exits and the collections managers are the Principal Curator in Charge, Invertebrates and the Principal Curator in Charge, Vertebrates. The collection sections remain largely the same, e.g. Birds, Mammals, Mollusca etc.

Gunther, A E, 1975. "A century of zoology at the British Museum through the lives of two keepers, 1815-1914". Dawsons of Pall Mall.
Gunther, A E, 1980. "The founders of science at the British Museum 1753-1900". The Halesworth Press.
Stearn, W T, 1981. "The Natural History Museum at South Kensington". Heinemann. Chapter 12.

John George Children 1837-1840
John Edward Gray 1840-1875
Albert Carl Ludwig Gotthilf Gunther 1875-1895
William Henry Flower 1895-1898
Edwin Ray Lankester 1898-1907
Sidney Frederick Harmer 1909-1921
Charles Tate Regan 1921-1927
William Thomas Calman 1927-1936
Martin Alister Campbell Hinton 1936-1945
Norman Boyd Kinnear 1945-1947
Hampton Wildman Parker 1947-1957
Francis Charles Fraser 1957-1964
John Philip Harding 1964-1971
John Gordon Sheals 1971-1985
John Fordyce Peake 1985-1989
Colin Robert Curds (acting) 1989-1993
Colin Robert Curds 1993-1997
Philip Stephen Rainbow 1997-2012

Show related Persons records.

PX212Hinton; Martin Alister Campbell (1883-1961); Keeper of Zoology1883-1961
PX568Gray; John Edward (1800-1875); Naturalist; Keeper of Zoological Branch1800-1875
PX1113Children; John George (1777-1851)1777-1851
PX1139Günther; Albert Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (1830-1914); Zoologist; Keeper of Zoology1830-1914
PX570Flower; Sir; William Henry (1831-1899); Zoologist; Director of the British Museum (Natural History)1831-1899
PX21Lankester; Sir; Edwin Ray (1847-1929); Zoologist; Director of the British Museum (Natural History)1847-1929
PX515Harmer; Sir; Sidney Frederic (1862-1950); Knight; Zoologist, Director of the British Museum (Natural History)1862-1950
PX533Regan; Charles Tate (1878-1943); Director of the British Museum (Natural History)1878-1943
PX1111Calman; William Thomas (1871-1952); Doctor; Zoologist1871-1952
PX522Kinnear; Norman Boyd (1882-1957); Ornithologist; Director of the British Museum (Natural History)1882-1957
PX1936Parker; Hampton Wildman (1897-1968); Herpetologist; Keeper of Zoology1897-1968
PX239Fraser; Francis Charles (1903-1978); Keeper of Zoology1903-1978
PX1565Harding; John Philip (1911-1998); Zoologist; Keeper of Zoology1911-1998
PX1956Sheals; John Gordon (1923-1989); Zoologist; Keeper of Zoology1923-1989
PX584Peake; John Fordyce (1933 - present); Keeper of Zoology1933 - present
PX1534Curds; Colin Robert (1937-present); Zoologist1937-present
PX10223Rainbow; Philip (1950-present)1950-present
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