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Book in, hundred and twenty per cent, in the Natural-History History Department over the King's Library and MSS. Rooms, Mi'"'* an(i °f thirty-three per cent, over the Galleries of Antiquities, notwithstanding that the latter are of considerably greater extent than the Galleries of Natural History. The evidence received by your Committee induces the belief that the removal of these most popular collections from their present central position to one less generally accessible would excite much dissatisfaction, not merely among a large portion of the inhabitants of the metropolis, but among the numerous inhabitants of the country, who from time to time visit London by railway, and to whom the proximity of the British Museum to most of the railway termini, as compared with the distance of the localities to which it has been proposed to transport such collections, is of great practical importance. Similar evidence shows that the proposed removal of those collections from the British Museum has excited grave and general disapprobation in the scientific world. Your Committee cannot here employ more forcible language than that made use of in a memorial signed by one hundred and fourteen persons, including many eminent promoters and cultivators of science in England, and presented to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1848. The following are their words :—" We beg to add the expression of our opinion that the removal of the Natural-History Collections from the site where they have been established for upwards of a century, in the centre of London, particularly if to any situation distant from that centre, would be viewed by the mass of the inhabitants with extreme disfavour, it being a well-known fact that by far the greater number of visitors to the Museum consists of those who frequent the halls containing the Natural-History Collections, while it is obvious that many of those persons who come from the densely peopled districts of Bookih, the eastern, northern, and southern parts of London, would H.stort feel it very inconvenient to resort to any distant locality."' i""*„ After an elaborate examination into the nature and ""jTM*81"
extent of those enlargements which the present growth and Rt:c probable increase of the several Collections of Antiquities
KCOMMKNDATIONS OF THE
and of Natural History render necessary, the Committee cmmons
proceed thus :— or mo.
The ground immediately surrounding the Museum, says the reporter, speaking of the adjacent streets to the east, west, and north,' comprises altogether about five and a half acres, valued by Mr. Smirke at about two hundred and forty thousand pounds. As the proprietary interest in all this ground belongs to a single owner, your Committee are of opinion that it would be convenient, and possibly even a profitable arrangement, for the State at once to purchase that interest, and to receive the rents of the lessees in return for the capital invested. The State would then have the power, whenever any further extension of the Museum became necessary, to obtain possession of such houses as might best suit the purpose in view.
'Independently, however, of this larger suggestion, your Committee are fully convinced, both from the uniform purport of the papers printed at different times by the House of Commons, and from the statements of the various witnesses whom they have now examined, that it is indispensable, not merely to the appropriate exhibition of our unequalled National Collections, but even to the avoidance of greater ultimate expense, through alterations and rearrangements, that sufficient space should be immediately acquired in connexion with the British Museum, to meet the requirements of the several departments which have been enumerated under the last head, and that such space
Boo«m, should throughout be adapted, by its position, extent, and
Hhto'i" facilities of application, to the arrangement of the collec
Hc»ra *'ons on a comPrehensive> and, therefore, probably perma
»»«>«« nent system. They will now proceed to point out several
A. Pakizzi. . ., .... . 1 /■ i
sites, either on or adjoining the present ground of the Museum, which seem to them to present the greatest advantages for the accommodation of the respective departments.' H*«o"1 Although, the Committee proceed to say, the amount of
Collec space which, on the foregoing estimate, would be requisite for the Natural-History Collections is not so great as to involve the necessity of their removal from the British Museum on that ground alone, your Committee, nevertheless, attach so much weight to the arguments in favour of preserving the various departments of the Museum from the risk of collision with each other, that, should it be determined to provide new space for Natural History in connexion with the Museum, they would make it a primary object to isolate its collections, as far as possible, from all others in the same locality. The chief part of the Natural-History Collections is now on the upper floor, where they occupy, according to the return of Mr. Smirke, in November, 1857, forty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-two superficial feet. The remainder of that floor, containing, exclusively of a small space not reckoned by Mr. Smirke, twenty-one thousand five hundred and thirty-two feet, is occupied by Antiquities. It appears to your Committee that if, by any adaptation of ground to be acquired adjoining the Museum, adequate space should be provided elsewhere for the Antiquities now on the upper floor, the most expedient arrangement would be to appropriate the whole of that floor to the Natural-History Collections. If this space proved insufficient for all such collections, your Committee would then recommend that the newly acquired portion should be
Museum, Under Sir A. Panizzi.
applied exclusively to the Department of Zoology; and that Bookih, a sufficient portion of ground should be purchased on the Hi*tm.* north side of the Museum as a site for galleries to provide for Mineralogy, and thus also indirectly for Geology.
A convenient site for this department would, in the PR„rgAIID opinion of the Committee, be provided by the suggested D*AW,S03 acquisition of additional ground on the north side. A building might there be erected in continuation of the present east wing of the Museum, to contain, on its upper floor, the Mineralogical Collections, and on the lower the Prints and Drawings, with adequate space both for their preservation and exhibition.
In determining the site most suitable for the large addi- itmijuitional accommodation required for this department, the Committee thought it most prudent that the Trustees of the Museum should be guided, partly by the greater or less cost of purchasing the requisite amount of ground in different directions, but chiefly by the greater or less fitness of the different portions of ground for the best system of arrangement.
In the same year in which Mr. Panizzi became Principal- iBTMKAL Librarian (1856), one of the recommendations of Lord TM<">°»vEllesmere's Commission-Report of 1850 was carried *"!<>» Ahd into effect by the creation of the new office of 'Superin- mvi.icw Of tendent of the Natural-History Departments.' And the ^*"" former partial subdivision and reorganization of those 18M-6& departments was, in the following year, carried further by the formation of a separate Department of Mineralogy. In subsequent years, the old Department of Antiquities was, like the Natural History, divided into four departments, namely, (1) Greek and Roman Antiquities; (2) Oriental Antiquities; (3) British and Mediaeval Antiquities and Ethnography; (4) Coins and Medals.
At present (1870), it may here be added, the entire Museum is divided into twelve departments, comprising three several groups of four sections to each. The NaturalHistory group being comprised of (1) Zoology; (2) Palaeontology; (3) Botany; (4) Mineralogy. The Literary group comprising (1) Printed Books; (2) Manuscripts; (3) Prints and Drawings; (4) Maps, Charts, Plans, and Topographical Drawings. Experience has amply vindicated the wisdom of the principle of subdivision. But it is probable that the principle has now been carried as far as it can usefully work in practice.
Increased efficiency and rapidly growing collections brought with them enlarged grants from Parliament. In the first year of Sir A. Panizzi's Principal-Librarianship, the estimate put before the House of Commons for the service of the year 1856-7 was sixty thousand pounds, as compared with a grant for the service of the year immediately preceding of fifty-six thousand one hundred and eighty pounds. In his last year of office, the estimate for the service of the year 18GG-G7 amounted to one hundred and two thousand seven hundred and forty-four pounds, against a grant in the year preceding of ninety-eight thousand one hundred and sixty-four pounds.
There had also been, in that decade, a marked degree of increase—though one of much fluctuation—in the number of visits, both to the General Collections and, much more notably, to the Reading-Rooms and the Galleries for Study. In 1S56, the number of general visitors was three hundred and sixtv-one thousand seven hundred and fourteen; in I860, it was four hundred and eight thousand two hundred and seventy-nine. But in the 'Exhibition Year' (1SG2), it had reached eight hundred and ninety-five thousand and seventv-seven, which was itself little more than one-third