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The Royal Opening of King Edward VII's Galleries, various photographs
London, England, 7 May 1914
King George V and Queen Mary after the ceremony
In 1907 King Edward VII laid the foundation stone to a large extension to the British Museum, which was to be named after him. The King Edward VII's Galleries were designed by J.J. Burnet and built between 1906 and 1914. Burnet used all the latest building materials. He had also visited the USA to look at the new museums and galleries recently built there. This helped him when he fitted out the new building with heating, ventilation, modern lighting and exhibition cases.
The new extension was opened by the late King's son, George V, and Queen Mary, on 7 May 1914. The King and Queen had been shown around the new building and the King inspected the Guard, formed by the Brigade of the Artists' Rifles.
This was the first stage of a grand scheme to replace the houses surrounding the existing Museum building with new galleries, more library space, students' rooms and lecture theatres. The First World War, a lack of money and later conservation regulations halted this development. At the end of the twentieth century the Museum was able to develop these facilities in the Great Court, at the centre of the Museum.
M. Caygill and C. Date, Building the British Museum (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)