Frederick York, The Central Saloon, a photograph

The British Museum, London, England, around AD 1875

A giraffe at Bloomsbury

This photograph of 1875 shows one of the most popular exhibits - a preserved giraffe. A second giraffe is out of view. Originally there were three on display. They used to be stationed at the top of the staircase in the original Museum building, Montagu House. They looked down upon visitors on their way to the exhibition galleries on the upper floor.

One of the three giraffes did not survive the move to the new Museum building. The remaining two were placed in the Central Saloon. Neither made a successful journey to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington but their skulls are preserved in the reserve collections of the Natural History Museum.

The Central Saloon is above the Main Entrance Hall in the South Wing of the Museum. This part of the Museum was opened in 1847 and enlarged in 1877. Some of the Natural History collections were displayed here until they were moved to the Natural History Museum, South Kensington during the early 1880s. From then until the late 1990s, prehistoric material was displayed here.

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Height: 139.000 mm
Width: 100.000 mm

Museum number

Archives CE114/596 (York Album)


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