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Young crocodile removed from its egg but still attached by its umbilical cord, prepared by John Hunter, 1760-1793

Hunterian Collection

The original collection created by the Museum’s founder, John Hunter (1728-1793), dates from the mid to late 1700s. Upon his death in 1793, Hunter had amassed a collection of over 14,000 specimens used for surgical training in his museum and anatomy school in Leicester Square. 

In 1799, Hunter's collection was bought by the British government for £15,000 and given into the care of the Company of Surgeons, which later became the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

As a result of an incendiary bomb which directly hit the Royal College of Surgeons' building in May 1941, two thirds of the Museum collections were destroyed. The Museum now holds just over 3,000 original Hunterian specimens. 

Research or photography of Hunterian Collection material must be approved by The Board of Trustees of the Hunterian Collection. For more details, read the Museums Research Policy

Objects and specimens in this collection have museum identification numbers with the prefix RCSHC.


Explore the Royal College of Surgeons of England collections catalogue