Hunterian Museum

Hunterian Museum information

London , United Kingdom
Street Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Extras WC2
Getting there
tube Holborn
More information
Opening hours
10am-5pm Tue-Sat
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Lonely Planet review

The collection of anatomical specimens of pioneering surgeon John Hunter (1728–93) inspired this fascinating, slightly morbid, little-known, yet fantastic London museum. Among the more bizarre items on display are the skeleton of a 2.3m Irish giant named Charles Byrne, half of mathematician Charles Babbage’s brain (the other part is in the Science Museum) and, incongruously, Winston Churchill’s dentures.

The atmosphere is less gory than it used to be and allows clear viewing of such things as animal digestive systems (forensically documented in formaldehyde) and the ‘hearing organ’ of a blue whale. The art gallery contains Hunter's own paintings of 'exotics': Chinese with queues, Cherokee Indians with tomahawks and the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, with, well, each other. Upstairs there’s a display on surgery techniques, which will impress and disgust in equal measure. There’s a free curator-led guided tour at 1pm on Wednesday. The excellent audio guide costs £3.50.