This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Lofty arched ceilings, endless cases of taxidermic specimen and glass enclosures that house gardens and butterflies all make up the Horniman Museum and Gardens. Located in Forest Hill, London, England, it was commissioned in 1898 and designed by Charles Harrison Townsend in the Arts and Crafts style. Opened to the public in 1901, it has displays filled with anthropology, natural history, musical instruments and is known for its large collection of taxidermy animals.
Founded by Frederick John Horniman, Frederick had inherited his father’s Horniman’s Tea business, which by 1891 had become the world’s biggest tea trading business. Being left with a profitable business allowed him to indulge his lifelong passion for collecting, and after travelling extensively had some 30,000 items in his various collections, covering natural history, cultural artifacts and unique musical instruments.
The museum’s structure rests within 16-acres of gardens. The garden contains unique features of its own, including a Grade II listed conservatory from 1894 which was moved from Horniman’s family house to the gardens in the 1980s, a bandstand from 1912, an enclosure for small animals, a butterfly house and a sound garden with large musical instruments.
The Horniman museum currently boast over 350,000 objects in its collection. If visitors can’t find something in the cases or enclosures that piques their interest, they will certainly find something interesting in the architecture or surrounding gardens.
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