The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 42 The Science Museum

Science Museum

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42. THE SCIENCE MUSEUM. ADMISSION. The Science Museum is open free on week-days from 10 to 6; on Sunday from 2.30 to 6. Sectional catalogues and special handbooks are on sale at the entrance. For the Science Library, open free on week-days until 5.50 to any bona-fide student, tickets are obtained on written application to the director, Col. H. G. Lyons, D.Sc. GUIDE-LECTURER at noon and 3 p.m. The Science Museum, until 1909 a department of the Victoria and Albert Museum but now a separate institution under the Board of Education, is a collection of machinery, models of machinery, and apparatus of great value for scientific research and for educational purposes. The collections (at present under rearrangement) are housed partly in the Southern Galleries erected for the Exhibition of 1871, between the Natural History Museum and the Imperial College of Science. A new building for the museum is in progress, and the east block in Exhibition Road has already been erected. There is an entrance to the Museum on the south side of Imperial Institute Road, at its west end; but our description begins at the temporary entrance in Exhibition Road, at the end of a long passage skirting the south side of the new building. From the entrance we turn first to the right to visit GALLERY 41 (in the new building), devoted to Aeronautics. From the roof are suspended Lilienthal's glider (1896), the Cody biplane (1912), an Avro biplane used in the War, a German Fokker, the Vickers-Vimy aeroplane, with Rolls-Royce engines, that flew over the Atlantic in 1919. The glass cases show a series of models of aeroplanes from 1844 (Henson's model) to the present day, experimental apparatus, aero engines, and instruments used in aerial navigation. The ballooning section includes models of the zeppelin 'Sachsen' and of Montgolfier's balloon (1783). Beyond the Aeronautical Gallery, opposite a staircase ascending to the exhibits of machine tools, etc., is a large hall containing a remarkable collection of Stationary Engines (several of historic interest), and their accessories, including steam-engines (several beam engines of 1777-1810), oil, turbine, wind, horse, and atmospheric engines. In the north half of this hall is a very comprehensive collection of 'Railway Locomotives and Rolling Stock. Here are 'Puffing Billy,' by William Hedley (1813), the oldest locomotive in the world; the 'Sans Pareil' and the 'Rocket,' two competitors in the trial on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829, the latter, constructed by George Stephenson, being awarded the prize of �500; other locomotives of circa 1829; also models of foreign locomotives and rolling stock. By a pillar opposite the 'Rocket' is a glass-case with memorials of George Stephenson. In the north-west angle of the gallery, behind a curtain, is an exact reproduction of the garret Workshop of James Watt (1736-1829), at Heathfield Hall, Birmingham. We next visit the galleries on the other side of the south entrance. Mechanical Engineering. Certain of the models are driven by compressed air, others may be set in motion by the visitor. GALLERY VIII. Aeronautical collection. In wall-cases: navigation and observation instruments and oxygen apparatus. Suspended from the roof is an observation car of the type used by Zeppelins when travelling above clouds. GALLERY IX. To the right: weighing machines, steelyards, gauges, taximeters. Centre: balances, power transmission, and hydraulic engineering. At the west end: travelling-cranes, lifts. GALLERY XI. Fire-engines. Beyond the stair to the Naval Collection and Library is GALLERY XIII, with a fine collection of Marine Engines; at the farther end, models of modern steering-gear. The marine collections are continued in GALLERY XIV (boilers) and GALLERY XV (fishing-boats and dredgers). Road Transport. In GALLERY XVI is an interesting collection of pedal cycles arranged chronologically, from the 'hobby-horse' of 1818. GALLERY XVII, with an exit to Imperial Institute Road, contains a mail-coach (1830); the original 'brougham' (1838); and a jaunting car. A staircase, with a sedan chair upon the landing, ascends to GALLERY XVIII, in which are (right) models of road bridges and specimens of road-making materials, and (left) a comprehensive collection of automobiles (steamcarriage of 1889) and motor-bicycles (from 1901). Gears, carburetters, tyre manufactures, etc., are illustrated in the wall-cases. Naval Collections. We retrace our steps to Gallery XIII and ascend the staircase (right) to GALLERY XXXV, which contains models of lighthouses and lightships. GALLERY XXXIV illustrates the construction of hulls and contains models of Oriental craft; farther on are lifeboats and a model of the monolith-carrying ship 'Cleopatra'. Above a wall-case is a Welsh coracle. At the head of the stairs from GALLERY XXXIII is a small room containing models of yachts, including the 'America' (170 tons), which at Cowes in 1851 won the cup that afterwards became the famous international 'America' Cup. GALLERY XXXI shows a magnificent series of models of *Mercantile Vessels. (passenger and cargo). On the wall to the left, turret-deck steamer, so constructed to minimise canal and harbour dues. On the left, near the exit, is the 'Great Britain,' the first screw steamer to cross the Atlantic (1838). GALLERY XXIX contains an equally fine series of Ships of War, British and foreign, from the 10th century almost to the present day. On the right are paddle-steamers. From this gallery a passage on the left leads to the SCIENCE LIBRARY (150,000 volumes and 4700 current periodicals). This is the national library of pure and applied science, and the finest collection in Great Britain of scientific periodical literature. GALLERY XXVIII. Sailing ships. GALLERY XXVII. Submarine telegraphs. A passage leads to the first floor of the NEW GALLERIES (in course of arrangement). The various cases here illustrate telegraphy (including wireless telegraphy and telephony), illumination, and the applications of Electricity. The east portion of this floor, beyond cases of primitive hand-tools, is devoted to (right) Machine Tools and Mining; (centre) Metallurgy; and (left) Printing and Textile Machinery. We ascend to the SECOND FLOOR. To the right are models illustrative of water supply, sewage disposal, and building construction (including a model of Westminster Hall roof); to the north, pumps. To the left, mathematical instruments and calculating machines, instruments of precision, early gramophones and organs, and (left wing) geophysical and meteorological collections, and a fine collection of timepieces, including a 14th century Clock from Wells cathedral. The right wing of the THIRD FLOOR (in course of arrangement) illustrates Chemistry (pure and applied, with numerous models of industrial plants) and Biology (anatomical models; enlarged models of insects; Glass models of anemones, jelly-fish, etc.; plants and plant reproduction). In the left wing are illustrated kinematography, and (right) photography and geography, (centre) geodesy and surveying, and (left) optics and astronomy. The galleries to the east, now under construction, will contain the marine collections.