Last week I was in South Kensington on a two day course and after finishing for the day I dashed to the Natural History Museum for the briefest of visits to its main hall and a quick and mildly expensive trawl through the bookshop. With the museum being cleared of visitors I was able to take a few shots of the great cathedral to the natural world, its intricate stonework populated with carved specimens that bring the walls almost to life.
With the proceeds from the Great Exhibition in 1851, Albert, Prince Consort to Queen Victoria, guided the Royal Commission to purchase land in South Kensington on which were to be built the great cultural and educational establishments of Victorian London. As a result, in an area between the Cromwell Road and Kensington Gore Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Colleges of Art and Music, the Royal Geographical Society, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum can all be found in close proximity. Satirists of the day named the area ‘Albertopolis’ and for a time the name stuck. It fell out of use until architectural historians picked it up again in the 1960s as plans began to develop to knock down buildings to extend Imperial College. The area remains an architecturally distinctive part of the capital attracting visitors from around the world at all times of the year.