Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U. S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century, his third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has been subject to much criticism, he is rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.
S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York, to a Dutch American family made well known by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States and William Henry Aspinwall. FDR attended Groton School, Harvard College, Columbia Law School, went on to practice law in New York City. In 1905, he married his fifth cousin once removed, Eleanor Roosevelt, they had six children. He won election to the New York State Senate in 1910, served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. Roosevelt was James M. Cox's running mate on the Democratic Party's 1920 national ticket, but Cox was defeated by Warren G. Harding. In 1921, Roosevelt contracted a paralytic illness, believed at the time to be polio, his legs became permanently paralyzed. While attempting to recover from his condition, Roosevelt founded the treatment center in Warm Springs, for people with poliomyelitis. In spite of being unable to walk unaided, Roosevelt returned to public office by winning election as Governor of New York in 1928.
He was in office from 1929 to 1933 and served as a reform Governor, promoting programs to combat the economic crisis besetting the United States at the time. In the 1932 presidential election, Roosevelt defeated Republican President Herbert Hoover in a landslide. Roosevelt took office while the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in the country's history. During the first 100 days of the 73rd United States Congress, Roosevelt spearheaded unprecedented federal legislation and issued a profusion of executive orders that instituted the New Deal—a variety of programs designed to produce relief and reform, he created numerous programs to provide relief to the unemployed and farmers while seeking economic recovery with the National Recovery Administration and other programs. He instituted major regulatory reforms related to finance and labor, presided over the end of Prohibition, he harnessed radio to speak directly to the American people, giving 30 "fireside chat" radio addresses during his presidency and becoming the first American president to be televised.
The economy having improved from 1933 to 1936, Roosevelt won a landslide reelection in 1936. However, the economy relapsed into a deep recession in 1937 and 1938. After the 1936 election, Roosevelt sought passage of the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, which would have expanded the size of the Supreme Court of the United States; the bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 prevented passage of the bill and blocked the implementation of further New Deal programs and reforms. Major surviving programs and legislation implemented under Roosevelt include the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Act, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Social Security. Roosevelt ran for reelection in 1940, his victory made him the only U. S. President to serve for more than two terms. With World War II looming after 1938, Roosevelt gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China as well as the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union while the U. S. remained neutral.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, an event he famously called "a date which will live in infamy", Roosevelt obtained a declaration of war on Japan the next day, a few days on Germany and Italy. Assisted by his top aide Harry Hopkins and with strong national support, he worked with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in leading the Allied Powers against the Axis Powers. Roosevelt supervised the mobilization of the U. S. economy to support the war effort and implemented a Europe first strategy, making the defeat of Germany a priority over that of Japan. He initiated the development of the world's first atomic bomb and worked with the other Allied leaders to lay the groundwork for the United Nations and other post-war institutions. Roosevelt won reelection in 1944 but with his physical health declining during the war years, he died in April 1945, just 11 weeks into his fourth term; the Axis Powers surrendered to the Allies in the months following Roosevelt's death, during the presidency of Roosevelt's successor, Harry S. Truman.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882, in the Hudson Valley town of Hyde Park, New York, to businessman James Roosevelt I and his second wife, Sara Ann Delano. Roosevelt's parents, who were sixth cousins, both came from wealthy old New York families, the Roosevelts, the Aspinwalls and the Delanos, respectively. Roo
Arthur Wellesley, 5th Duke of Wellington
Arthur Charles Wellesley, 5th Duke of Wellington, known as Arthur Wellesley from 1876 to 1900, as Marquess of Douro from 1900 to 1934, was a British nobleman and landowner. Wellesley was the son of his wife Kathleen Bulkeley Williams, his father inherited the title and vast Wellington estates on his older brother's death in 1900, became the 4th Duke of Wellington. Wellesley attended Eton between 1890 and 1895, attended Trinity College at Cambridge, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 4th battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment on 7 July 1897, served as Aide-de-camp to the Earl of Ranfurly, Governor of New Zealand. After the outbreak of the Second Boer War in late 1899, he joined the regular army as a second lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards on 17 January 1900, was part of a detachment sent to South Africa in March 1900 to reinforce the 3rd battalion fighting in the war, he served with his regiment there until July 1902, when he returned home after the war ended the previous month. He resigned his commission in 1903.
He returned to active service as a temporary reserve second lieutenant in 1915, during World War I, relinquished his commission in 1919, still a second lieutenant. In 1934, he succeeded to the Dukedom; the Duke was a supporter of several far right-wing causes. He was a member of the Anglo-German Fellowship from 1935 and served as President of the Liberty Restoration League, described by Inspector Pavey as being anti-semitic; when Archibald Maule Ramsay formed the'Right Club' in 1939, Wellington chaired its early meetings. Ramsay, describing the Right Club, boasted that "The main objective was to oppose and expose the activities of organised Jewry." On the day that World War II broke out, the Duke of Wellington was quoted as blaming the conflict on "anti-appeasers and the fucking Jews". Lord Douro married, in 1909, Hon. Lilian Maud Glen Coats, daughter of George Coats, 1st Baron Glentanar, they had two children: Lady Anne Wellesley Captain Henry Wellesley, 6th Duke of Wellington Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Wellington Duke of Wellington's Regiment – West Riding
The October Revolution known in Soviet historiography as the Great October Socialist Revolution and referred to as the October Uprising, the October Coup, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Bolshevik Coup or the Red October, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin, instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd on 7 November 1917, it followed and capitalized on the February Revolution of the same year, which overthrew the Tsarist autocracy and resulted in a provisional government after a transfer of power proclaimed by Grand Duke Michael, the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II, who declined to take power after the Tsar stepped down. During this time, urban workers began to organize into councils wherein revolutionaries criticized the provisional government and its actions. After the Congress of Soviets, now the governing body, had its second session, it elected members of the Bolsheviks and other leftist groups such as the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to important positions within the new state of affairs.
This initiated the establishment of the Russian Soviet Republic. On 17 July 1918, his family were executed; the revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, who used their influence in the Petrograd Soviet to organize the armed forces. Bolshevik Red Guards forces under the Military Revolutionary Committee began the occupation of government buildings on 7 November 1917; the following day, the Winter Palace was captured. The long-awaited Constituent Assembly elections were held on 12 November 1917. In contrast to their majority in the Soviets, the Bolsheviks only won 175 seats in the 715-seat legislative body, coming in second behind the Socialist Revolutionary Party, which won 370 seats, although the SR Party no longer existed as a whole party by that time, as the Left SRs had gone into coalition with the Bolsheviks from October 1917 to March 1918; the Constituent Assembly was to first meet on 28 November 1917, but its convocation was delayed until 5 January 1918 by the Bolsheviks. On its first and only day in session, the Constituent Assembly came into conflict with the Soviets, it rejected Soviet decrees on peace and land, resulting in the Constituent Assembly being dissolved the next day by order of the Congress of Soviets.
As the revolution was not universally recognized, there followed the struggles of the Russian Civil War and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922. At first, the event was referred to as the October coup or the Uprising of 3rd, as seen in contemporary documents. In Russian, however, "переворот" has a similar meaning to "revolution" and means "upheaval" or "overturn", so "coup" is not the correct translation. With time, the term October Revolution came into use, it is known as the "November Revolution" having occurred in November according to the Gregorian Calendar. The February Revolution had toppled Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, replaced his government with the Russian Provisional Government. However, the provisional government was riven by internal dissension, it continued to wage World War I, which became unpopular. A nationwide crisis developed in Russia, affecting social and political relations. Disorder in industry and transport had intensified, difficulties in obtaining provisions had increased.
Gross industrial production in 1917 had decreased by over 36% from what it had been in 1914. In the autumn, as much as 50% of all enterprises were closed down in the Urals, the Donbas, other industrial centers, leading to mass unemployment. At the same time, the cost of living increased sharply. Real wages fell about 50% from what they had been in 1913. Russia's national debt in October 1917 had risen to 50 billion rubles. Of this, debts to foreign governments constituted more than 11 billion rubles; the country faced the threat of financial bankruptcy. Throughout June and August 1917, it was common to hear working-class Russians speak about their lack of confidence and misgivings with those in power in the Provisional Government. Factory workers around Russia felt unhappy with the growing shortages of food and other materials, they blamed their own managers or foremen and would attack them in the factories. The workers blamed many rich and influential individuals, such as elites in positions of power, for the overall shortage of food and poor living conditions.
Workers labelled these rich and powerful individuals as opponents of the Revolution, called them words such as "bourgeois and imperialist."In September and October 1917, there were mass strike actions by the Moscow and Petrograd workers, miners in Donbas, metalworkers in the Urals, oil workers in Baku, textile workers in the Central Industrial Region, railroad workers on 44 railway lines. In these months alone, more than a million workers took part in strikes. Workers established control over production and distribution in many factories and plants in a social revolution. Workers were able to organize these strikes through factory committees; the factory committees represented the workers and were able to negotiate better working conditions and hours. Though workplace conditions may have been increasing in quality, the overall quality of life for workers was not improving. There were still shortages of food and the increased wages workers had obtained did little to provide for their families.
By October 1917, peasant uprisings were common. By autumn the peasant movement ag
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur
South Kensington is an affluent district of West London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. With some of its easterly areas shared with the City of Westminster, the district is known as a popular tourist destination due to its density of museums and culutral landmarks, it is hard to define boundaries for South Kensington, but a common definition is the commercial area around the South Kensington tube station and the adjacent garden squares and streets. The smaller neighbourhood around Gloucester Road tube station can be considered a part, Albertopolis around Exhibition Road, which includes the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Baden-Powell House. Other institutions such as the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College London, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music are within the City of Westminster, but considered to be in South Kensington. Although the postcode SW7 covers South Kensington, some parts of Knightsbridge are covered.
Neighbouring the affluent centres of Knightsbridge and Kensington, South Kensington covers some of the most exclusive real estate in the world. It is home to large numbers of French expatriates, but Spanish, Italian and Middle-Eastern citizens, as well as a significant number of celebrities. A significant French presence is evidenced by the location of the consulate, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle – a large French secondary school opposite the Natural History Museum – and the Institut Français, home to a French cinema. There are several French bookshops and cafes in the area and is sometimes referred to as Paris’s 21st arrondissement. Two London Underground stations are located in South Kensington: South Kensington and Gloucester Road tube stations; the area was undeveloped until the mid-19th century, being an agricultural area supplying London with fruit and vegetables. Following the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, an 87-acre area around what is now Exhibition Road was purchased by the commissioners of the exhibition, in order to create a home for institutions dedicated to the arts and sciences, resulting in the foundation of the museums and university here.
Adjacent landowners began to develop their land in the 1860s as a result of the creation of new roads and a boom in the development of areas around London, the absorption of South Kensington into London was sealed by the arrival of the Underground at Gloucester Road and South Kensington in 1868, linking the area directly to the main railway termini and to the political and financial hearts of the city in Westminster, the West End and the City of London. In 1863 it was decided that the Church of England parish of Kensington should be divided up, the parish of South Kensington was created, the parish church being St Stephen's on the corner of Gloucester Road and Southwell Gardens; the area is the subject of Donovan's song "Sunny South Kensington", about the area's reputation as the hip part of London in the 1960s. Notable residents have included: Oscar Wilde, poet and wit, lived with his wife and children at 34 Tite Street. Sir Henry Cole, campaigner and first director of the South Kensington Museum, lived at 33 Thurloe Square.
Charles Booth, pioneer of social research, lived at 6 Grenville Place. George Wallis, FSA, museum curator and art educator, first Keeper of Fine Art Collection at South Kensington Museum, his children, including Whitworth Wallis and Rosa Wallis. Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, actor-manager, lived at 31 Rosary Gardens. Sir J M Barrie and novelist, author of Peter Pan, his wife Mary née Ansell, actress, at 133 Gloucester Road Beatrix Potter and artist, spent her early life in Bolton Gardens. Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell and interior designer, lived at 22 Hyde Park Gate until 1904. Francis Bacon, Irish-born British artist, lived at 17 Queensberry Mews and 7 Reese Mews. Benny Hill, lived at 1 & 2 Queen's Gate. Nicholas Freeman, OBE, controversial Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, lived in Harrington Gardens, near Gloucester Road. Sir Isaiah Berlin, liberal philosopher Sir Francis Galton, Victorian polymath, eugenicist, tropical explorer, inventor, proto-geneticist and statistician.
Dennis Gabor, electrical engineer and physicist, most notable for inventing holography, 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics. Lived in No. 79, Queen's Gate. Peter Finch, English-born distinguished Australian actor, won 5 BAFTA acting awards and he was the first person to win a posthumous Academy Award in an acting category. Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, FRAeS, DL was a Royal Air Force flying ace during the Second World War, he was credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged Brompton Chelsea Earls Court Kensington Knightsbridge West Kensington London/South Kensington-Chelsea travel guide from Wikivoyage What's on in South Kensington – the home of science and inspiration South Kensington Web site Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Web site City of Westminster Web site Exploring South Kensington Architecture and history
Wallis Simpson known as the Duchess of Windsor, was an American socialite whose intended marriage to the British king Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis that led to Edward's abdication. Wallis grew up in Maryland, her father died shortly after her birth and she and her widowed mother were supported by their wealthier relatives. Her first marriage, to U. S. naval officer Win Spencer, was punctuated by periods of separation and ended in divorce. In 1931, during her second marriage, to Ernest Simpson, she met Edward Prince of Wales. Five years after Edward's accession as King of the United Kingdom, Wallis divorced her second husband to marry Edward; the King's desire to marry a woman who had two living ex-husbands threatened to cause a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom and the Dominions, led to his abdication in December 1936 to marry "the woman I love". After abdicating, the former king was created Duke of Windsor by his brother and successor, King George VI. Wallis married Edward six months after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, but was not allowed to share her husband's style of "Royal Highness".
Before and after the Second World War, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were suspected by many in government and society of being Nazi sympathisers. In 1937, they met Adolf Hitler. In 1940, the Duke was appointed governor of the Bahamas, the couple moved to the islands until he relinquished the office in 1945. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Duke and Duchess shuttled between Europe and the United States living a life of leisure as society celebrities. After the Duke's death in 1972, the Duchess lived in seclusion and was seen in public, her private life has been a source of much speculation, she remains a controversial figure in British history. An only child, Bessie Wallis Warfield was born in Square Cottage at Monterey Inn, a hotel directly across the road from the Monterey Country Club, in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. A summer resort close to the Maryland–Pennsylvania border, Blue Ridge Summit was popular with Baltimoreans escaping the season's heat, Monterey Inn, which had a central building as well as individual wooden cottages, was the town's largest hotel.
Her father was Teackle Wallis Warfield, the fifth and youngest son of Henry Mactier Warfield, a flour merchant described as "one of the best known and one of the most popular citizens of Baltimore" who ran for mayor in 1875. Her mother was a daughter of stockbroker William Latane Montague. Wallis was named in honour of her father and her mother's elder sister and was called Bessie Wallis until at some time during her youth the name Bessie was dropped. According to a wedding announcement in the Baltimore Sun, her parents were married by Reverend C. Ernest Smith at Baltimore's Saint Michael and All Angels' Protestant Episcopal Church on 19 November 1895, which suggests she was conceived out of wedlock. Wallis claimed that her parents were married in June 1895, her father died of tuberculosis on 15 November 1896. For her first few years and her mother were dependent upon the charity of her father's wealthy bachelor brother Solomon Davies Warfield, postmaster of Baltimore and president of the Continental Trust Company and the Seaboard Air Line Railway.
They lived with him at the four-story row house, 34 East Preston Street, that he shared with his mother. In 1901, Wallis's aunt Bessie Merryman was widowed, the following year Alice and Wallis moved into her four-bedroom house on West Chase Street, where they lived for at least a year until they settled in an apartment, a house, of their own. In 1908, Wallis's mother married her second husband, John Freeman Rasin, son of a prominent Democratic party boss. On 17 April 1910, Wallis was confirmed at Christ Episcopal Church and between 1912 and 1914 her uncle paid for her to attend Oldfields School, the most expensive girls' school in Maryland. There she became a friend of heiress Renée du Pont, a daughter of Senator T. Coleman du Pont of the du Pont family, Mary Kirk, whose family founded Kirk Silverware. A fellow pupil at one of Wallis's schools recalled, "She was bright, she made up her mind to go to the head of the class, she did." Wallis was always pushed herself hard to do well. A biographer wrote of her, "Though Wallis's jaw was too heavy for her to be counted beautiful, her fine violet-blue eyes and petite figure, quick wits and capacity for total concentration on her interlocutor ensured that she had many admirers."
In April 1916, Wallis met Earl Winfield Spencer Jr. a U. S. Navy aviator, at Pensacola, while visiting her cousin Corinne Mustin, it was at this time that Wallis witnessed two airplane crashes about two weeks apart, resulting in a lifelong fear of flying. The couple married on 8 November 1916 at Christ Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Wallis's parish. Win, as her husband was known, was a heavy drinker, he drank before flying and once crashed into the sea, but escaped unharmed. After the United States entered the First World War in 1917, Spencer was posted to San Diego as the first commanding officer of a training base in Coronado, known as Naval Air Station North Island. In 1920, the Prince of Wales, visited San Diego, but he and Wallis did not meet; that year, Spencer left his wife for a period of four months, but in the spring of 1921 they were reunited in Washington, D. C. where Spencer had been posted. They soon s
Natural History Museum, London
The Natural History Museum in London is a natural history museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Natural History Museum's main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road. The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, mineralogy and zoology; the museum is a centre of research specialising in taxonomy and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin; the museum is famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast that dominated the vaulted central hall before it was replaced in 2017 with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling.
The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments. The museum is recognised as the pre-eminent centre of natural history and research of related fields in the world. Although referred to as the Natural History Museum, it was known as British Museum until 1992, despite legal separation from the British Museum itself in 1963. Originating from collections within the British Museum, the landmark Alfred Waterhouse building was built and opened by 1881 and incorporated the Geological Museum; the Darwin Centre is a more recent addition designed as a modern facility for storing the valuable collections. Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the Natural History Museum does not charge an admission fee; the museum is an exempt charity and a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture and Sport. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is a patron of the museum.
There are 850 staff at the Museum. The two largest strategic groups are Science Group; the foundation of the collection was that of the Ulster doctor Sir Hans Sloane, who allowed his significant collections to be purchased by the British Government at a price well below their market value at the time. This purchase was funded by a lottery. Sloane's collection, which included dried plants, animal and human skeletons, was housed in Montagu House, Bloomsbury, in 1756, the home of the British Museum. Most of the Sloane collection had disappeared by the early decades of the nineteenth century. Dr George Shaw sold many specimens to the Royal College of Surgeons and had periodic cremations of material in the grounds of the museum, his successors applied to the trustees for permission to destroy decayed specimens. In 1833 the Annual Report states that, of the 5,500 insects listed in the Sloane catalogue, none remained; the inability of the natural history departments to conserve its specimens became notorious: the Treasury refused to entrust it with specimens collected at the government's expense.
Appointments of staff were bedevilled by gentlemanly favoritism. J. E. Gray complained of the incidence of mental illness amongst staff: George Shaw threatened to put his foot on any shell not in the 12th edition of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae; the huge collection of the conchologist Hugh Cuming was acquired by the museum, Gray's own wife had carried the open trays across the courtyard in a gale: all the labels blew away. That collection is said never to have recovered; the Principal Librarian at the time was Antonio Panizzi. The general public was not encouraged to visit the Museum's natural history exhibits. In 1835 to a Select Committee of Parliament, Sir Henry Ellis said this policy was approved by the Principal Librarian and his senior colleagues. Many of these faults were corrected by the palaeontologist Richard Owen, appointed Superintendent of the natural history departments of the British Museum in 1856, his changes led Bill Bryson to write that "by making the Natural History Museum an institution for everyone, Owen transformed our expectations of what museums are for".
Owen saw that the natural history departments needed more space, that implied a separate building as the British Museum site was limited. Land in South Kensington was purchased, in 1864 a competition was held to design the new museum; the winning entry was submitted by the civil engineer Captain Francis Fowke, who died shortly afterwards. The scheme was taken over by Alfred Waterhouse who revised the agreed plans, designed the façades in his own idiosyncratic Romanesque style, inspired by his frequent visits to the Continent; the original plans included wings on either side of the main building, but these plans were soon abandoned for budgetary reasons. The space these would have occupied are now taken by the Earth Galleries and Darwin Centre. Work began in 1873 and was completed in 1880; the new museum opened in 1881, although the move from the old museum was not completed until 1883. Both the interiors and exteriors of the Waterhouse building make extensive use of