The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 20 Covent Garden, Kingsway, Lincoln's Inn Fields

Royal College of Surgeons 2

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The Comparative Osteological Collection occupies Rooms IV and V and part of Room III. ROOM IV. Fishes and amphibia. In the middle of the floor are large antediluvian skeletons, including the Megatherium Cuvieri (missing bones replaced by casts), the Mylodon robustus (gigantic sloth of South America), the Glyptodon clavipes (gigantic armadillo), the Megaceros hibernicus or �Irish Elk� (found in a bed of shell-marl below a peat-bog in Limerick), the Dinornis maximus or moa (the wingless bird of New Zealand). In this room is a bronze bust of Sir Richard Owen (1804-92) by Alfred Gilbert. ROOM V. In the middle hang the skeletons of whales, including that of a sperm whale or cachalot (Physeter macrocephalus), 50 feet long. The cases to the right contain Mammalia, those to the left Reptilia. In the centre are �Hafed,� a favourite deer-hound of Sir Edwin Landseer; the first tiger shot in India by Edward VII. (then Prince of Wales; 1870); �Orlando,� the winner of the Derby in 1844; a giraffe that lived at the Zoo for 20 years; �Chunee,� a huge elephant, long exhibited in England and finally shot in 1826, when he ran �amok� (more than 100 bullets were required to kill him). Several of the specimens in this room were presented by Charles Darwin, the results of his voyage in the �Beagle.� Other specimens, belonging to the original Hunterian Collection, were collected by Captain Cook. We descend once more to the basement, to visit the War Collections, illustrating gunshot wounds, the effects of fever, poison gas, frost-bite, etc. In cases at the windows, facial masks by Captain Derwent Wood, R.A. (died 1926). Returning to the stair we ascend, passing the INSTRUMENT ROOM (many of the exhibits were used by famous surgeons), to the GALLERIES, occupied by the Pathological Collection, illustrating the infirmities to which the human body is liable, and especially the processes of disease. The Principles of Pathology are illustrated also in some cases on the floor of R. III. Hunter's preparations are indicated by black numerals, later additions by red. The Taynbee Collection of Diseases of the Ear, the Collection of Calculi, and the Dermatological Collection may be specially noted. The Physiological Collection, illustrating the functions of the animal body and forming the most characteristic section of the Museum, occupies the GALLERIES OF ROOMS IV and V (reached from R. III or R. V). Many of the preparations are of extraordinary interest in showing the adaptability of organs to the needs of the different animals. The HISTORICAL CABINET, shown on application to the attendant, contains specimens interesting because of past association or as illustrating superstitions. The College possesses a Library of 80,000 volumes and 50,000 pamphlets. In the Council Room are a portrait of John Hunter by Reynolds and busts of George III. and George IV. by Chantrey. At the south-east corner of the square, near an entrance to Lincoln's Inn, is the new Land Registry and Valuation Office, designed by Sir Henry Tanner (1902-13).