Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,402 pages of information and 233,863 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

South Kensington Museum

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1857 The collection of the Society of Arts and surplus items from the 1851 Great Exhibition provided the basis for the South Kensington Museum under Bennet Woodcroft. It included a collection of machinery which became the Museum of Patents in 1858 and then the Patent Office Museum in 1863. This collection contained many of the most historically famous exhibits of what is now the Science Museum.

1858 The Commissioners of the Great Exhibition assigned to the Government the land east of Exhibition Road in Kensington on which the South Kensington Museum was built.

1864 Captain Francis Fowke retired as director of works. He was succeeded by Colonel Scott.

1883 The contents of the Patent Office Museum, including Puffing Billy and Stephenson’s Rocket, were transferred to the South Kensington Museum.

1885 The Science Collections were renamed the Science Museum

1893 A separate director was appointed for the Science Musuem. The Art Collections were renamed the Art Museum, which eventually became the Victoria and Albert Museum.

1909 The art collections were renamed "The Victoria and Albert Museum". The Science and Engineering Collections were separated administratively. The name Science Museum was officially adopted.

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