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Title: A brief guide to the Food Collection
Author: Cole, Henry, Sir
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1872 George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode edition
by David Price.

                        SCIENCE AND ART DEPARTMENT

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                       BETHNAL GREEN BRANCH OF THE
                         SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM.

                                * * * * *

                              A BRIEF GUIDE
                           THE FOOD COLLECTION.

                             (_FIRST ISSUE_.)

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]



                                * * * * *

                            _Price One Penny_.




Vice-President, THE RIGHT HON. W. E. FORSTER, M.P.

                                * * * * *

I.  In tracing the origin of the Branch Museum of Science and Art at
Bethnal Green it will be necessary to refer, though briefly, to the early
days of the parent institution, at South Kensington, from whence a
considerable portion of the new edifice and of its contents have been

II.  The South Kensington Museum stands on 12 acres of land, acquired by
the Government at a cost of 60,000_l._, being a portion of the estate
purchased by Her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851, out
of the surplus proceeds of that undertaking.

III.  Here, in 1855, a spacious building was constructed, chiefly of iron
and wood, under the superintendence of the late Sir William Cubitt, C.E.,
at a cost of 15,000_l._, intended to receive several miscellaneous
collections of a scientific character mainly acquired from the Exhibition
of 1851, and which had been temporarily housed in various places.

IV.  In addition to the collections already alluded to, the whole of the
Fine Art collections which had been exhibited at Marlborough House since
1852 were also removed thither, and these were supplemented by numerous
and valuable loans by Her Majesty the Queen and others.

V.  This building was opened on June 22nd, 1857, as THE SOUTH KENSINGTON
MUSEUM.  Although in many respects well suited to its purpose, this iron
building was avowedly of a temporary character, and from the first it was
intended to replace it by buildings of a more architectural character and
of more substantial materials.  The erection of these permanent buildings
was commenced at once, and at the beginning of the year 1865 sufficient
progress had been made to render the removal of the iron building

VI.  It appeared to the Lords of the Committee of Council on Education
that “this iron building might usefully be divided into three portions,
and that one of these portions might be offered to the proper authorities
in the north, east, and south of London respectively, at a nominal sum,
in order to assist in the formation of district museums, security being
required for the completion of each portion in a suitable manner, and for
its permanent appropriation to public uses.”  After some correspondence
with other Departments of the Government, it was decided that measures
should be taken for carrying out this proposal.

VII.  On May 6, 1865, a meeting of noblemen and gentlemen interested in
the establishment of Suburban or Metropolitan District Museums was held
at the South Kensington Museum, the Lord President of the Council, Earl
Granville, being in the chair, at which the proposal was fully discussed,
and a strong desire was expressed by the representatives of the various
suburban districts of the north, east, and south of London to secure a
share of this building, the great difficulty felt in each case being the
providing of a suitable site.  It was decided that after a period of six
months each district should be at liberty to put in its claim to a
portion of the iron building, and send its application to the Science and
Art Department.

VIII.  On March 7th in the following year (1866) Mr. now Sir Antonio
Brady addressed the following letter to the Lord President of the

                                              Stratford, E., 7 March 1866.

    May it please your Lordship,

    WHEN I and others acting with me had the honour of attending the
    meeting held under your Lordship’s presidency, in the Lecture Room of
    South Kensington Museum, on the 6th May last, on the subject of Local
    Metropolitan Museums, I put in a plea on behalf of the million
    artisans inhabiting the densely populated manufacturing and labouring
    districts in the East of London; and I pointed to a site most
    admirably placed in the very centre of the East-end, which I then
    hoped might be made available for the proposed museum.

    The land in question, containing about 4½ acres, is close to Mile-end
    Station, one mile from Shoreditch on the Great Eastern Railway; it is
    near the junction of the Hackney and Cambridge Heath Roads, and is
    the centre of a network of railways, and omnibuses run in all
    directions, at twopenny and threepenny fares to and from all parts of

    The site is about one mile and three quarters from the Bank of
    England, and two miles from the General Post Office, and taking the
    proposed site as a centre, within a radius of two miles are comprised
    a large portion of the following extensive districts, viz.: City of
    London, Shoreditch, Finsbury, St. Luke’s, Old Street, Hoxton,
    Islington, De Beauvoir Town, Canonbury, Ball’s Pond, Kingsland,
    Dalston, Clapton, Homerton, Hackney, Victoria Park, Old Ford, Bow,
    Stepney, Limehouse, Poplar (including West India Docks), parts of
    Rotherhithe and Bermondsey (including Surrey and Commercial Docks),
    Shadwell, Wapping, St. George’s-in-the-East (including London and St.
    Katharine’s Docks), Tower, Whitechapel, and Mile-end.

    This circle of two miles radius embraces the N.E. and E. postal
    districts, part of the N. district, and parts of the E.C. and S.E.

    The land in question was bought as a gift to the poor in King James’s
    reign, when this part of London was open fields, and the trustees,
    with the consent of the Charity Commissioners, have unanimously
    agreed to sell the land for the purposes of the proposed museum, and
    to invest the purchase-money, which has been conditionally offered
    and accepted.

    I have now the pleasure of informing your Lordship that, if this site
    is acceptable to the Government, I am authorised, on the part of the
    committee acting with me, to guarantee to raise the purchase-money
    necessary to acquire the fee simple, and to offer this magnificent
    site to the Government for the purpose of erecting thereon a museum
    for the East-end of London.

    The site is marked red in the accompanying maps, and is more
    particularly described in the plan hereunto annexed; it will be seen
    that it occupies a most commanding position.  There is no other
    suitable spot unbuilt on, but if we had the choice of any ground in
    the East-end we should recommend the position of this site in
    preference to any other.

    It is not my purpose to enter on the advantages of local museums.
    After what passed at the meeting at South Kensington, the value of
    institutions such as we wish to see established in the East-end is
    admitted on all hands; but what I desire respectfully to submit to
    your Lordship is the kind of museum which those acting with me would
    wish to see erected.

    During the past year the subject of local museums has been much
    ventilated, and as the time has now arrived when it seems a necessity
    to provide more room for the great national collections, we
    respectfully submit that it is a good and fitting opportunity to make
    the national collections more useful and more accessible than they
    now are, and I trust this splendid site may induce the Government to
    entertain the propositions I have the honour to submit for their

    1st.  From inquiries made since the meeting last May, it is found
    that it will be utterly and entirely impracticable for a permanent
    building to be erected by local efforts, or to maintain the necessary
    staff if a building were otherwise provided; and we feel that this
    could only efficiently be done by the Government as a part of one
    comprehensive scheme.  We find it will require all our efforts to
    raise the funds to pay for the site, and under these circumstances we
    humbly submit to your Lordship that the Government should, in
    exchange for the site, take the whole matter into their own hands as
    a national affair.

    2ndly.  The scheme that commends itself most to our minds is, not to
    distribute the superfluities of the British Museum _piecemeal_
    amongst several local museums, but that typical collections
    illustrating one branch of science should be arranged in one of
    several museums in different quarters of the metropolis.  The British
    Museum would thus be relieved of its plethora without impairing the
    value of any one collection; for instance, the natural history
    collections may be kept together in one place, the ethnological in
    another, so that anyone requiring to study any particular branch
    would know to what museum to resort.

    In any plan of a museum that may be adopted for the improvement of
    the working classes, we submit that if they are to benefit by it to
    the fullest extent, it must be placed in a neighbourhood accessible
    to them, and must be open of an evening.  We submit that it be made
    _educational in the widest sense of the word_, and that convenient
    and comfortable refreshment-rooms be added to the other attractions
    of the place.

    I am to request that your Lordship will be pleased to communicate
    your wishes in this matter, that we, on our part, may at once take
    the necessary means to give legal effect to this arrangement, if
    concurred in by your Lordship.

    The land being unoccupied would be available immediately the
    preliminary agreements were finally settled.

                                 I have, &c.

                                             (Signed) Antonio Brady, J.P.,
                                                     _Honorary Secretary_.

    To the Right Honourable Earl Granville, K.G., Lord President of Her
    Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

IX.  This letter was at once taken into favourable consideration by the
Lords of the Committee of Council on Education, Earl Granville and Mr.
Bruce being respectively President and Vice-President.  A change of
Government shortly afterwards took place which caused some delay, but on
December 6, 1866, the Duke of Buckingham being President and Mr. Corry
Vice-President, a minute was passed recommending the proposal to the
favourable consideration of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s
Treasury, and asking that an estimate of the probable cost might be
included in the votes of the ensuing year.  The following paragraph
occurs in this minute:—

    “My Lords regret that Mr. Brady’s offer on behalf of Bethnal Green
    can be adduced as the sole proof of the practical earnestness of the
    several districts of the metropolis to act in establishing district
    museums.  Their Lordships, therefore, propose that the iron columns,
    flooring, stairs, window fittings, heating arrangements, &c. of the
    whole of the iron building should be re-erected as soon as
    practicable at Bethnal Green, on the free site provided by the
    locality, but that brick walls and a slate roof should be used
    instead of iron; and they estimate that the cost will be 20,000_l._
    The works would thus be of a permanent nature.”

X.  The Treasury (the Right Hon. B. Disraeli being then Chancellor of the
Exchequer) accepted the proposal to re-erect the structure and to provide
for its maintenance, and a vote of 5,000_l._ on account was granted by
the House of Commons towards the cost of removal and re-erection of the
building, but some delay arose in consequence of legal difficulties as to
the conveyance of the ground.  By the untiring efforts of Sir Antonio
Brady, the Rev. Septimus Hansard, rector of Bethnal Green, Mr. J. M.
Clabon, Dr. J. Millar, and others, heartily seconded by the trustees of
the land and supported by the Government, these difficulties were at
length surmounted, a special Act of Parliament having been obtained for
the purpose (31 Vict. c. 8.), and on 13 February 1869, the four gentlemen
above named, acting on behalf of the subscribers to the fund for the
purchase of the site, attended at the Council Chamber, Downing Street,
and presented to the Lord President and Vice-President of the Committee
of Council on Education the title-deeds of the site. {7}

XI.  After the removal of the materials had taken place the erection of
the building was at once commenced in accordance with plans prepared for
the Department of Science and Art under the direction of Major-General
Scott, C.B.

XII.  At the beginning of the present year (1872) the building was
sufficiently advanced for the reception of objects.  Two important
collections, formerly exhibited in the iron buildings, already existed in
the South Kensington Museum ready for transfer to Bethnal Green, the
ANIMAL PRODUCTS COLLECTION intended to illustrate the various
applications of animal substances to industrial purposes, and the FOOD
COLLECTION, one of the most popular divisions of the Museum.  These, with
an important series of examples of Economic Entomology recently formed by
Mr. Andrew Murray, now occupy the whole of the space on the ground floor
under the galleries, and it is confidently believed that they will prove
of great and abiding interest and educational value, forming as they do
no inconsiderable contribution towards the establishment of a complete
trade museum, the necessity for which at the East-end of the metropolis
has long been recognised.

XIII.  The galleries of the building on the first floor are at present
assigned to Paintings and other Fine Art objects, and the Lords of the
Committee of Council on Education are indebted to the generous liberality
of Sir Richard Wallace, Bart., for the loan of a collection of Art
Treasures of almost unexampled beauty and value, occupying the whole of
the space assigned to this division.  These Art Treasures, collected by
the late Marquis of Hertford, K.G., during a period of 30 years, have
hitherto been comparatively unknown to the English public, a large
portion of the objects having been specially brought over from Paris
within the last three months at the expense of Sir Richard Wallace.

XIV.  The basement of the building contains a range of spacious and
well-lighted rooms.  A portion of this will serve as Refreshment Rooms,
and it is proposed to use the remainder for educational purposes,
including a Library, and rooms in which classes may receive instruction
in the various branches of Science and Art.

XV.  It was desired by Her Majesty the Queen that on the 24th June 1872
the Museum should be opened in state by His Royal Highness the Prince of
Wales on behalf of Her Majesty, the Prince being accompanied by Her Royal
Highness the Princess of Wales.

                                                               HENRY COLE,

                                * * * * *

The Bethnal Green Branch of the South Kensington Museum was opened to the
public on Tuesday, the 25th June 1872, under the following regulations,
which are the same as those of the South Kensington Museum:—Daily (except
Sundays).  Free admission on Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday, from 10 a.m.
to 10 p.m.  On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (Students’ days),
admission sixpence, from 10 a.m. to 4, 5, or 6 p.m., according to the

Tickets of Admission on Students’ days (available both for the Bethnal
Green Museum and the South Kensington Museum) are issued at the following
rates:—_weekly_, 6_d._; _monthly_, 1_s._ 6_d._; _quarterly_, 3_s._;
_half-yearly_, 6_s._; _yearly_, 10_s._  _Yearly_ Tickets are also issued
to any school at 1_l._, which will admit all the pupils of such schools
on all Students’ days.  To be obtained at the Catalogue Sale Stall of
each Museum.

                                * * * * *

JULY 1872.


  *** _An Inventory of the Collection_, _arranged alphabetically_, _and
  containing fuller information than this Guide_, _can be obtained at the
  Catalogue Stall_, _Price Sixpence_.

THE idea of the Food Collection (originally formed in 1857), now removed
from the South Kensington Museum and arranged in the lower Gallery on the
North side of the Branch Museum at Bethnal Green was suggested by Thomas
Twining, Esq., of Twickenham, as part of a plan for the establishment of
an Economic Museum that should comprise illustrations of every-day life
for the working classes.  The Food Collection was at the commencement of
its formation carried on under the direction of Dr. Lyon Playfair, M.P.,
and, as now constituted, has been arranged with the express object of
teaching the nature and sources of the food which rich and poor alike
need for the maintenance of their daily life.  Considerable progress has
been made in carrying out this design, and the present brief Guide is
intended as an introduction to the general principles and plan upon which
the Collection has been arranged.  Two great objects have been kept in
view in the Collection:—

First, to represent the chemical compositions of the various substances
used as food; and, secondly, to illustrate the natural sources from which
the various kinds of food have been obtained.  Where the processes of the
preparation of food admit of illustration, these are also exhibited.

There are many methods by which such a Collection might be arranged; but
the Chemical Composition of Food has recently been discovered to have so
close a connexion with its action on the system, that it has been deemed
advisable to follow a _Chemical arrangement_.  All food is found to be
composed of the same materials or elements as the Human Body.  The
necessity of the supply of food from day to day depends on the fact, that
the elements of the human body are daily wasted by the processes of life.
As a fire cannot _burn_ without a supply of _fuel_, neither can the human
body _live_ without its daily supplies of _food_.


Not only does food supply the daily waste of the human body, but, as the
body increases in size from birth to adult age, it is supplied with
materials for this increase by the aid of food.  In order, therefore, to
understand the value of food from its composition, it is necessary to
know the composition of the human body.  Just as any other compound
substance can be submitted to chemical analysis and the elements of which
it consists ascertained, so can the composition of the human body be
discovered.  Such analyses of course become difficult in proportion to
the complication of the body analysed, and only an approach to the true
quantities in which the elements exist can be expected.  In Case No. 1,
Division A., the results of such an analysis have been attempted, and the
quantities of each element entering into the composition of a human body
weighing 11 stone or 154 pounds are (as far as possible) presented to the

The following are the elements and their quantities:—


                                              lbs.      ozs.      grs.
1.  _Oxygen_, a gas.  The quantity             111         0         0
contained in the body would occupy a
space equal to 1,314 cubic feet
2.  _Carbon_, a solid.  When obtained           21         0         0
from animals it is called animal
3.  _Hydrogen_, a gas.  The lightest            14         0         0
body in nature.  The quantity present
would occupy about 2,622 cubic feet
4.  _Nitrogen_, a gas.  It would                 3         9         0
occupy, when free, about 46 cubic feet
5.  _Calcium_, a solid.  The metallic            2         0         0
base of lime which has not yet been
obtained in sufficient quantity to be
employed in the arts.  It is about the
density of aluminium
6.  _Phosphorus_, a solid.  This                 1        12       190
substance is so inflammable that it can
only be kept in water
7.  _Chlorine_, a gas.  When combined            0         2       382
with sodium it forms common salt
8.  _Sulphur_, a solid.  A well-known            0         2       219
substance.  It unites with hydrogen,
forming sulphuretted hydrogen, which
gives the unpleasant smell to
decomposing animal and vegetable matter
9.  _Sodium_, a metal.  It is so light           0         2       116
that it floats on water, and is kept in
naphtha to prevent its oxidation
10.  _Fluorine_, a gas.  This substance          0         2         0
has not been separated in such a manner
as to permit of an examination of its
properties, and cannot be exhibited.
It is found united with calcium in the
11.  _Potassium_, a metal.  Like sodium          0         0       290
it floats on water, and burns with a
flame when placed on it
12.  _Iron_, a metal.  In small                  0         0       100
quantities it is necessary to the
health of the body
13.  _Magnesium_, a metal.  Combined             0         0        12
with oxygen it forms magnesia
14.  _Silicon_, a non-metallic                   0         0         2
substance.  With oxygen it forms silex
or silica.  It enters into the
composition of the teeth and hair
                                               154         0         0

Other elements have been found in the body, as copper and manganese, but
these are probably accidental.

These elements, when combined together, form a set of compound bodies
called “proximate principles,” out of which the tissues and fluids of the
body are formed.


                                              lbs.      ozs.      grs.
1.  _Water_, composed of oxygen and            111         0         0
hydrogen gases
2.  _Gelatin_, of which the walls of            15         6         0
the cells and many tissues of the body,
as the skin and bones, are principally
3.  _Fat_, which constitutes the                12         0         0
adipose tissue
4.  _Phosphate of Lime_, forming the             5        13         0
principal part of the earthy matter of
the bones
5.  _Fibrin_, forming the muscles and            4         4         0
the clot and globules of the blood
6.  _Albumen_, found in the blood and            4         3         0
7.  _Carbonate of Lime_, also entering           1         0         0
into the composition of bone
8.  _Chloride of Sodium_, common salt            0         3       376
9.  _Fluoride of Calcium_, found in the          0         3         0
10.  _Sulphate of Soda_                          0         1       170
11.  _Carbonate of Soda_                         0         1        72
12.  _Phosphate of Soda_                         0         0       400
13.  _Sulphate of Potash_                        0         0       400
14.  _Peroxide of Iron_                          0         0       150
15.  _Phosphate of Potash_                       0         0       100
16.  _Phosphate of Magnesia_                     0         0        75
17.  _Chloride of Potassium_                     0         0        10
18.  _Silica_                                    0         0         3
                                               154         0         0

These compounds, in passing away from the body, form many others, which
may be here left out of consideration as not forming a necessary part of
the fabric of the human body.

None of these constituents of the body remain permanently in the system,
and whilst the old particles are being removed new ones are supplied by
the food.  It is calculated that in this way a quantity of material,
equal to the weight of the whole body, is carried away every forty days.
So that we may be said to moult or cast away our old body and get a new
one every forty days.

The materials for the food of man, and containing the above elements, are
derived from the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms.  The vegetable
kingdom, however, is the great source of food to man and animals, as it
is in the cells of the plant that the elements undergo those chemical
changes which fit them for food.  The animal can only supply what it
obtains from them, and the substances supplied by the animal kingdom as
food are identical with those obtained from plants.

The FOOD COLLECTION is arranged as nearly as possible in the order of the
following CLASSIFICATION, commencing at the _western end_ of the lower


Group 1.  _Mineral Substances_.

  Examples: Water; Common Salt; Ashes of Plants and Animals.

Group 2.  _Non-nitrogenous force-producing Substances_, _incapable of
forming Flesh or Muscle_.

  Examples: Sago, Arrowroot (_Amylaceous_); Sugar, Figs, Dates
  (_Saccharine_); Animal and Vegetable Fats and Oils (_Oleaginous_).

Group 3.  _Nitrogenous Substances capable of producing both Flesh and

  Examples: Eggs (_Albuminous_); Wheat, Flesh (_Fibrinous_); Peas, Cheese


Group 1.  _Containing Alcohol_.

  Examples: Beers, Wines; Spirits.

Group 2.  _Containing Volatile Oils_.

  Examples: Spices and Condiments, as Cloves, Nutmegs, Pepper,
  Horse-radish, &c.

Group 3.  _Containing Acids_.

  Examples: Apples, Oranges, Rhubarb Stalks, Vinegar.

Group 4.  _Containing Alkaloids_, _which act upon the nervous system as
stimulants or sedatives_.

  Examples: Tea, Coffee, Cocoa; Tobacco, Hemp, Opium.


The first and most essential constituent of food is water.  Three fourths
of the body is composed of water, and it is by the agency of water that
all kinds of food are taken up into the system.  Solid food contains
large proportions of water, but, in proportion to the dryness of food,
water should be added to it, in the form of some kind of beverage.

               KINDS OF SOLID FOOD.
                 _Vegetable Food_.
                      lbs.                     lbs.
Cabbage                 92  Maize                14
Turnips                 87  Peas                 14
Carrots                 86  Beans                14
Beetroot                83  Lentils              14
Parsnips                79  Buckwheat            14
Potatoes                75  Oatmeal              13
Bread                   44  Rye                  13
Flour                   14  Rice                 13
Barley Meal             14  Cocoa                 5
                  _Animal Food_.
Milk                    86  Lamb                 50
Eggs                    80  Mutton               44
Fish                    78  Cheese               40
Veal                    62  Pork                 38
Beef                    50  Bacon                30

_An imperial gallon of water weighs_ 10 _pounds avoirdupois weight_.

Water for dietetical purposes is obtained principally from three
sources:—1. Rivers; 2. Surface wells; 3. Deep or Artesian wells.  Water
from all three sources contains saline or mineral matters in solution,
and, provided they are not in quantities so large as to act injuriously
on the system, water may become a source of supply of these constituents
to the body.  The best remedy for impure water is filtering, which may be
done by passing the water through charcoal and sand.  “A Poor Man’s
Filter” is exhibited in the Museum, which can be very easily and cheaply
constructed by using a common flower-pot, glazed inside, plugging the
drainage hole (not too tightly) with a piece of clean sponge, then adding
layers of animal charcoal, sand, and rather coarse gravel.  Filters from
the establishments of the Messrs. Lipscombe, the Messrs. Ransome, and the
Carbon Filter Company are also exhibited.  The passing water over iron
has been found to have a remarkably purifying effect, and this has been
patented by Dr. Medlock.

The _organic_ impurities of water are best tested by the aid of the
microscope, but, as an examination by this instrument requires much time,
a ready method of obtaining a knowledge of the comparative organic
impurity of waters is the addition of the permanganate of soda or potash.
This salt, which gives to water a beautiful red colour, is easily
decomposed by organic matters.  When the same quantity of the
permanganate is added to a series of waters containing organic matters,
those which contain the least retain the most colour and _vice versâ_.
Waters thus tested are exhibited in the Collection.

Water from the chalk or limestone is generally hard, arising from its
holding in solution carbonate of lime, which, although insoluble in
water, is dissolved by the agency of carbonic acid.  By Clark’s softening
process the carbonic acid is neutralized by lime, and the carbonate of
lime is thus thrown down.  Specimens are exhibited.

Water is frequently stored in leaden cisterns, and when free from
carbonic and phosphoric acids it acts powerfully on lead.  Thus distilled
water becomes speedily tainted with lead, whilst Thames water and London
surface well water act but slightly upon it.  Specimens of these waters
acting upon lead are exhibited in the Collection.


Common Salt is a chloride of sodium, and exerts an extraordinary
influence on animal as well as vegetable life.  All marine animals and
plants seem to have their existence determined by this substance.  It
enters into the composition of the human body, and all over the world man
uses it, when he can obtain it, in its mineral form, as an addition to
his food.

In Case 5 will be seen a collection of salt from various countries.


In Case 4 are examples of some of the principal Mineral Substances,
excepting water, in food.  They are generally essential to proper
nutrition.  In the body of a man, weighing 154 lbs., there are about 8
lbs. of mineral matter.  Different parts of the body show peculiar
affection for particular ingredients to the exclusion of others.  The
mineral salts contained in plants and animals are indestructible by heat,
hence they are called “ashes.”

It should be recollected, that in the boiling of food many of the mineral
substances are dissolved out of it, and where the liquid that they are
boiled in is not consumed such mineral matters are thrown away.  This is
the case with boiled meat and vegetables, and a constant use of such food
may lead to injurious effects.  The best corrective to such a diet is the
use of uncooked fruit and vegetables.  In this way the eating of ripe
fruits, as apples, pears, gooseberries, &c., and salads, has a beneficial
effect on the system.


Although many things eaten as salads contain other constituents of food
besides mineral matters their beneficial action in diet is due to the
latter.  The practice of eating salads is not so common in Europe as
before the introduction of the potato, which, to a certain extent,
supplies the same kind of mineral matters to the blood.  The practice of
eating salads is, nevertheless, to be highly commended; and many plants
formerly much used might now be consumed in this way with much advantage.
Plants thus used contain a larger quantity of mineral matter than
vegetables which have been boiled in water.  Various plants used as
salads may be seen on the shelves, and are renewed from time to time.


In Case 4 may be seen the varieties of substances called “force-producers
in food.”


The substance called Starch is found very abundantly in the vegetable
kingdom.  Its presence was at one time regarded as characteristic of
plants, but it has recently been found in animals.  It occurs in the form
of irregularly-shaped granules, which vary in size from the 1/400 to the
1/2000-th of an inch in diameter.  These granules are simple or compound.
They vary in shape and size in every species of plant, and are insoluble
in water, but are easily diffused through it.  On being mixed with water,
and exposed to a temperature of 180°, the starch gelatinises, and, mixing
with the water, thickens it.  This occurs in the cooking of starch, and
this property lies at the foundation of pudding making.

Starch is abundantly present in all the more common forms of vegetable
diet.  Is exists in a state of almost absolute purity in the substances
known as arrowroot, tapioca, and sago.  These substances from whatever
source obtained, contain little or no nutritious or flesh-forming food,
and, consequently, ought never to become the substantive diet of human
beings.  Many plants contain so large quantities of starch, and so small
quantities of flesh-forming matter, that they ought only to be taken on
account of their starch.  Such are the potato and rice, in which the
quantity of starch to flesh-forming matter is as 14 to 1, whilst in wheat
it is only as 5 to 1.  Potatoes and rice, therefore, can never form the
staple article of the diet of the people of this country, who need a
large quantity of force-producing matter in order to enable them to
perform their work.

Starch is extensively used in the arts manufactures, and for domestic
purposes.  It is prepared for this purpose from the potato, wheat, rice,
flour, and the coarser kinds of sago.

In Cases 6 and 16 is an extensive series of starches, sago, arrowroot,
tapioca, &c. &c., from various parts of the world.

The following table gives the quantities of Starch in 100 parts of
various kinds of food:—

Rice               74  Beans                 36
Maize              60  Lentils               35
Wheat              59  Parsnips              17
Rye                51  Potatoes              15
Buckwheat          50  Mangel Wurzel         12
Bread              48  Carrots               11
Barley             48  Turnips               10
Oats               39  Cabbage                4
Peas               37


Sea-weeds contain lichen starch, and are frequently used as food.
Specimens may be seen in Case 7.  In China the people are very fond of
sea-weeds, and many kinds are collected and added to soups, or eaten
alone with sauce.  In times of scarcity the poorer inhabitants of the
sea-shores of Europe have recourse to sea-weeds for a supply of food.


Although this plant contains but a small quantity of flesh and
force-producing matter, it yields an abundance of starch and mineral
matters in a condition which acts very beneficially on the human system,
and its introduction into Europe has been of the greatest benefit to its
teeming populations.

The potato is an herbaceous plant producing annual stems from an
underground tuber or root-stock which is the part that is used as an
article of food.  It has white flowers and a green fruit, which, like all
the plants of the order to which it belongs, contain a poisonous
principle.  The native country of the plant is South America.  It has
been found wild in various parts of Chili, and also near Monte Video,
Lima, Quito, Santa Fe de Bogota, and in Mexico.  Spain was the country in
which this plant was first cultivated in Europe; from thence it extended
into Italy.  It was first grown in the British Islands by Sir Walter
Raleigh in his garden at Youghal in Ireland, but it was not generally
cultivated in Great Britain till the middle the last century.  The only
part of the plant employed as food is the tuber, which is a kind of
underground stem.  Upon this stem buds are formed which are called
“eyes,” and from these, by cutting up the potato, the plant is
propagated.  The tubers of the wild potato are small in size, but by
culture they may be very much enlarged.  In this country many varieties
of the potato are known under the names of “kidneys,” “rounds,” “reds,”
“blues,” “whites,” &c.  Many of these varieties are now disappearing, the
“white,” “kidney,” and “round” potatoes being preferred to all others.
The potato contains large quantities of water (75 per cent.), and less
flesh and force-producing matters than any other plant cultivated for
human food.  It is therefore not adapted for consumption as a principal
article of diet, and should only be employed as an addition to more
nutritious kinds of food.  It contains a variety of mineral matters,
which also render it valuable as an article of diet.  It has for many
years been liable, in Europe, to a diseased condition, in which the water
seems to be increased, and decomposition consequently readily sets in.
The decayed parts are infested by a fungus, but this has not been shown
to have anything to do with the production of the disease.  Potatoes are
largely employed in this country for the production of starch, which is
used for a variety of purposes in the arts and manufactures.  Potatoes
are cooked in many ways, and all the varieties of food which can be
obtained from the flour of the cerealia may be procured from the potato,
as starch, macaroni, vermicelli, &c.

The analysis of the Potato may be seen in Case 8, as well as various
preparations from it.


This plant belongs to the natural order of grasses.  It is a native of
East India, and is extensively cultivated throughout Asia, in North and
South Carolina, and other parts of the world.  Although more largely
consumed by the inhabitants of the world than any other grain, it
contains less flesh and force-producing matter.

When employed in this country it should only be used as an adjunct to
other kinds of food more rich in force-producers.  Boiled, as an addition
to meat, or in the form of pudding or curry, it may be judiciously
employed, as a variety, especially in the food of the young.

Case 9 shows the analysis of rice, and many samples of the grain are
exhibited in the Collection.


Sugar has a chemical composition very nearly resembling starch, but it
differs in both chemical and physical properties.  Sugar is soluble in
water, whilst starch is only diffusible through it.  Sugar undergoes the
process of fermentation, which starch does not.  Sugar has a sweet taste,
while starch is almost tasteless.  Starch is, however, convertible into
sugar by the agency of nitrogenous substances.  If starch is placed in
contact with saliva a little time it becomes soluble, and gives the
reactions of sugar; and it is probable that in this way starch itself
becomes absorbed into the blood.  Sugar, like starch, assumes various
forms, and three of these are found in common articles of diet.  These
are cane sugar, grape sugar, and milk sugar.

The action of sugar on the system is identical with starch.  As it is
more readily absorbed into the blood than starch, it is better adapted as
a force-producer for the young.  Hence it is found supplied to the young
in all the mammalia, in the milk secreted by their mothers.  That it is
adapted for the young is shown by the instinctive propensity children
display to partake of this form of diet.  Although adapted for children,
the facility with which it decomposes renders it frequently injurious to

Most plants contain sugar in their roots.  But in some large quantities
are deposited, as in the sugar beet, which is employed most extensively
in France and on the continent of Europe for the supply of sugar for
dietetical purposes.  A series of specimens illustrating products from
beet-root, including sugar, from Messieurs Serret, Hamoir, and Co., of
Valenciennes, are exhibited in the Collection.

Sugar is the basis of all kinds of confectionery, specimens of which are
exhibited by Messrs. Fortnum and Mason, of Piccadilly, in Case 111.

Samples of sugar are exhibited in Cases 17, 110, 112, and 113, some of
which have obtained been from other plants than the sugar cane.

Fruits after being saturated with sugar are also preserved and kept dry.
In Case 15 preserved fruits of various kinds are exhibited by Messrs.
Fortnum and Mason.  It is in this way that fruits are brought to this
country which otherwise would not be seen on account of their perishing

_Treacle_ or _Molasses_ is the uncrystallized portion of sugar which is
separated by draining from the brown sugar.

_Grape Sugar_ or _Glucose_ is found in the fruits of plants, and is
especially abundant in the grape.  Grapes, when dried, are eaten on
account of the glucose they contain.  They are known in the shops under
the name of “plums,” “raisins,” and “currants.”  The latter word is a
corruption of Corinth, the small grape yielding this, being cultivated in
the vicinity of Corinth, on the classic soil of Greece.

Dried fruits of the grape-vine, presented by Messrs. Fortnum and Mason,
Piccadilly, are exhibited in Case 14.

_Honey_, which is the stored food of the bee, contains both
crystallizable and uncrystallizable grape sugar.  The crystals of the
former may be easily detected by the aid of a low power of the
microscope.  Samples of British honey, and honey from France, Russia, and
other countries, may be seen in Cases 18.

_Substances resembling Sugar_, such as dextrin, gum, liquorice, manna,
&c., are exhibited in Case 107.  Among plants yielding sugar may be noted
the Chinese sugar millet (Case 17), sweet potato (Case 8), turnips (Case
11), carrots (Case 11), and Jerusalem artichoke (Case 12), the analyses
of which are exhibited.


Under the names of oil, butter, fat, lard, suet, and grease, a substance
is used largely as an article of food, which differs from starch and
sugar in the absence of oxygen gas.  The composition of these oleaginous
substances may be represented as follows:—Carbon 11 parts; hydrogen 10
parts; oxygen 1 part.

Oil differs from the other carbonaceous substances in food in not only
supplying materials for maintaining animal heat, but in forming a part of
the tissues of the body called fat.  The quantity consumed in animal food
is very large, constituting frequently more than half of the bulk of the
food consumed.  It is also found very generally present in the vegetable
substances used as food.  Although essential as an article of diet in
certain quantities, oil is less digestible than other kinds of food, and
those foods which contain it in large quantities are generally
indigestible.  The principal source of oil used as food from the
vegetable kingdom is the Olive.  This plant is cultivated in the south of
Europe.  The part of the plant which contains the oil is the fruit.  The
seeds of most plants contain oil in addition to starch and other
principles.  Many seeds are used for obtaining oil for various purposes
in the arts, as the poppy, rape, mustard, hemp, and flax seeds.  In Case
20 is a collection of nuts and seeds containing oil commonly eaten as
food.  Case 21 contains the analysis of the coco-nut; and in the same
Case that of an African bread called “Dika bread,” both of which
illustrate food products containing an abundance of oil.  The cocoa, or
chocolate plant, is one of the most remarkable vegetable productions
yielding oil, the seeds giving nearly 50 per cent. of a hard oil, or
butter.  See Case 53.


In Case 4 are shown those ingredients of food, which are capable of
forming muscle or flesh.  They are made use of in the human body partly
for the construction of muscle, and partly for the production of
mechanical force and heat.  They are all nearly identical in their
chemical composition.

1.  ALBUMEN, made from Eggs and from Blood.  It forms about 7 parts in
100 of blood, and is always present in lymph and chyle.  Liquid or
soluble albumen, as shown in the white of egg, coagulates by heat and
various chemical agents.

2.  ALBUMEN, as found in the juices of carrots, turnips, and cabbages,
and obtained by boiling their juices.  It is the same body as albumen
from eggs.

3.  FIBRIN made by stirring blood with a rod.  It is the basis of muscle
or flesh.  Flesh-fibrin probably bears the same relation to blood-fibrin
as coagulated albumen does to soluble albumen.

4.  FIBRIN made from Wheat-flour.  It is identical with the fibrin found
in flesh, but not exactly the same as that found in blood, and is known
as _Gluten_.

5.  CASEIN prepared from milk, in which it is soluble, owing probably to
a little alkali: when an acid is added, the Casein curdles or coagulates,
and then is known as Cheese.  In 100 parts of cows’ milk there are 3½
parts of Casein.

6.  CASEIN or LEGUMIN as found in peas, beans, lentils, coffee, &c.  The
Casein of Vegetables is now supposed by most chemists to be identical
with the Casein or Cheese of Milk, but a few chemists still deny this.
100 parts of peas contain above 20 parts of Casein.


Eggs are very nutritious articles of food.  They contain as much oil or
fat and flesh and force-producing matter as butcher’s meat.  The white is
not, however, so digestible as the flesh of meat.  They enter into the
composition of puddings, cakes, buns, and other forms of diet.  They are
also eaten alone, boiled or fried, and are most digestible when least

The egg of the domestic fowl is usually eaten, but those of other birds
are frequently employed as food.  The eggs of the woodcock, plover, and
other small birds, are esteemed a luxury.  Those of the duck and goose
have a strong flavour, and those of sea-fowl are fishy.  The eggs of the
turkey are rich in flavour, whilst those of the guinea-hen have a very
delicate flavour.  All birds’ eggs may be eaten with impunity.  The eggs
of the crocodile, and other oviparous reptiles, are eaten in some parts
of the world.

In Case 61 is a collection of the Eggs of domestic poultry and some other
birds, together with the analysis of Hen’s Eggs.

                                * * * * *

The Flesh and Force-producers are most abundant in those plants which
yield the substantive food of man.  These plants belong principally to
the group of cereal grasses, as wheat, oats, barley, &c., and leguminous
plants, as peas, beans, lentils, &c.  Of these the most important is
wheat.  At the western end of the gallery are shown samples of many
cultivated varieties of wheat, oats, barley, rye, and maize, in the
straw, and in grain.

The Flesh and Force-producers exist also in large quantities in milk, and
in the flesh of vertebrate animals, divided into mammals, birds, fishes,
and reptiles.


The wheat plant is grown all over the world, but flourishes mostly
between the parallels of 25 and 60 degrees of latitude.  It is more
abundant in the northern than in the southern hemisphere.

The varieties of wheat cultivated in Europe may be divided into those
whose flowers produce awns, and those without these appendages, or
_bearded_ and _beardless_ wheats.  The fruits or seeds of these varieties
are red or white, hence a further subdivision takes place into _red_ or
_white_, bearded or beardless, wheats.  Amongst the red bearded varieties
is the fingered Egyptian or Mummy Wheat, which presents the peculiarity
of several branches bearing fruits proceeding from its central stalk.
Wheat is also called hard and soft according to its consistence, and
winter and spring as it is sown at those seasons of the year.  The red
varieties yield the largest amount of grain, but the white the whitest

Wheat is preferred to the other cereal grasses as an article of food on
account of its containing a larger quantity of flesh-forming matters.
The flour also may be rendered very white by separating it from the
husks, or bran, and the fruit is much more easily separated from the
chaff than is the case with the other cereals.  The proportion of flesh
and force-producing to those of force-producers only, is more nearly
adjusted to the requirements of the system in wheat than in any other
food.  Hence, probably, its very general use as an article of food
amongst the populations of the hardest working nations in the world.

In Case 26 is an analysis of the various constituents found in a pound of
wheaten flour.

The chemical analysis of barley, buckwheat, maize, millet, oats, rye, and
rice may be inspected in the respective cases.


The most common as well as the most important form in which wheaten flour
is consumed as food is bread.  In Case 25, which may be called the “Bread
Case,” the constituent ingredients, with their respective quantities used
in making bread, are exhibited.  There are three methods of making bread,
the ordinary or fermented process, the unfermented process, and that
employed in making aërated bread.  Bread is either _vesiculated_ or
_unvesiculated_, the latter is called unleavened bread, and consists of
bread, and of such preparations of flour as are known by the names of
biscuits, cakes, &c. of which two cases of samples are shown by Messrs.
Peek, Frean, and Co. of London, and J. W. Mackie and Sons of Edinburgh.
For other details concerning bread the visitor is referred to the printed
labels in the case.


According to the classification of the Food Collection, Flesh is placed
next to Wheat and other cereals in Group 3, which includes _nitrogenous
substances capable of producing both flesh and force_.

Animal food is composed of the same materials as vegetable food.  It is
formed of the same elements, and presents the same proximate principles.
It contains water and mineral matters of the same kind as plants.  Its
force-producing substances appear in the form of fat, and its flesh and
force-producing substances in the form of fibrin and albumen.


Of all animal foods milk is the most important, as it may be regarded as
the type of human food.  Case 55 contains an analysis of cow’s milk,
human milk, and asses milk, and is accompanied with explanatory labels.

Milk is preserved in various ways, so that it may be taken on long
voyages or otherwise employed as a diet where living animals cannot be
kept to produce it.  It is preserved both in a liquid and solid state.
The latter mode of preparation appears to have the advantage.

Butter is formed from cream by the process of “churning.”  The casein is
held in solution in the milk by the aid of certain salts; when these are
removed by acids the casein coagulates, and forms “curds.”  When the curd
is removed with the butter and pressed it forms cheese.  The best and
highest-priced cheeses are those in which there is most butter.  The
casein without the butter is hard and indigestible.


At the western end of the gallery over the upright cases containing
wheat, barley, oats, maize, &c., are arranged some selected heads of oxen
in illustration of the principal breeds in this country.

The Case, 56, is specially devoted to the composition of one pound of
beef, mutton, pork, veal, lamb, and fowl.  Wax models represent the
substances, and each analysis is accompanied with descriptive printed

In Case 70 are seen mounted specimens of the varieties of hares and
rabbits indigenous to the United Kingdom.

The flesh of birds, fish, and reptiles is also represented in the

Cases 63 and 64 contain mounted examples of the varieties of pheasant
successfully introduced into Great Britain, and a series of grouse,
ptarmigan, capercailzie, &c., as representing the game birds of that

FISH is represented in the Collection by mounted specimens of the
commoner kinds of fish brought to market, and by the analysis of a pound
of salmon, mackerel, sole, conger eel, herring, and pike.

FISH yield a larger number of species used as food by man than either
birds or quadrupeds.  There are but few fishes caught in the fresh waters
and seas of Great Britain that may not be eaten with impunity.  In some
countries the only animal food known is fish.  The flesh of fish contains
less oil or fat, and a larger quantity of mineral matters than the flesh
of birds or mammals.  The digestibility of fish is not so great as that
of butcher’s meat; hence, generally, it is not so nutritious as the flesh
of birds or quadrupeds.  Fish is undoubtedly a valuable as well as an
agreeable article of diet, and should, where possible, be introduced into
all dietaries.

In connexion with fish the collection illustrating Economic Fish Culture,
mainly belonging to, and superintended by, Mr. Frank Buckland, Her
Majesty’s Inspector of Salmon Fisheries, should not be left unmentioned,
although not forming a part of the Food Collection in the Branch Museum
at Bethnal Green.  This collection illustrates the science of breeding
salmon, trout, and other fish by artificial means.  It also includes a
large number of casts of different kinds of fish, and a series of nets
and other apparatus used in the legal and illegal capture of fish.  At
present it is exhibited in the arcades on the western side of the Royal
Horticultural Gardens at South Kensington.  During the period of the
International Exhibition it is not accessible except to visitors to the
Exhibition; but when the Exhibition is not going on, visitors can see the
Museum of Economic Fish Culture under the rules and regulations which
govern the South Kensington Museum, with which it is officially connected
as an addition to the Food Collection.

Lobsters, crabs, prawns, and shrimps, are exhibited in the collection in
illustration of the edible animals belonging to the crustacea; and of
molluscous animals, embracing the shell fish of the rivers and oceans,
examples of the oyster, scallop, whelk, periwinkle, common snail, and
Roman snail, are shown.  (See Cases 59 and 60.)

Of reptiles, but few are eaten in this country as food.  Their flesh is,
however, white and delicate, and rich in gelatin and fat.  No accurate
analysis seems to have been published of the flesh of these animals.  The
flesh of the green turtle is consumed in considerable quantity, and of it
the famous turtle soup is made.  The common and edible frog are eaten on
the continent; and the land tortoise, common on the coast of the
Mediterranean, is eaten by the inhabitants of Italy and the Levant.  The
flesh of the crocodile, alligator, and iguana, is also consumed in the
countries where such creatures abound.


These substances are next in the order of classification by reason of the
large quantity of a flesh and force-producing substance contained in them
called _casein_.  The casein of vegetables is now supposed by most
chemists to be identical with the casein or cheese of milk.  The
constituents or ingredients in one pound of peas, and in one pound of
beans, are shown in Cases 30 and 31.  The visitor may examine a
collection of beans from various foreign countries arranged in the Cases
at the western end of the Collection.

Lentils are shown in Case 30.  By examining the analysis of this
extremely nutritious product, the large proportion of casein is at once


The Food Substances in this Class are divided into _four_ groups,
namely:—Those containing alcohol, those containing volatile oils, those
containing acids, and those containing alkaloids, which act upon the
nervous system as stimulants or sedatives.


The most common form in which alcohol is employed in this country is that
of beer.  Beer is distinguished from other alcoholic beverages by the
addition of hops, which are the female catkins of a plant extensively
grown in this country.  Case 35 contains the materials from which porter
is brewed, and illustrates the changes which malt undergoes during its
conversion into beer.  The analysis of stout, porter, pale ale, mild ale,
and strong ale are exhibited in Case 35, and the quantities of water,
alcohol, sugar, and acetic acid are shown in an imperial pint of each.
Next to beer the beverages containing alcohol consumed in this country
are wines.  The visitor is referred to the printed descriptive labels for
details concerning the sources and manufacture of various wines from the
juice of fruits, especially grapes.  In Case 36 the quantities of water,
alcohol, sugar, and tartaric acid, are shown in an imperial pint of the
following wines:—Port, Brown Sherry, Pale Sherry, Claret, Burgundy, Hock,
Moselle, Champagne, and Madeira.

In this country wines are made from oranges, raisins, gooseberries,
currants, elderberries, and other fruits.  They are usually called
“home-made” or “British” wines.  They contain other acids besides
tartaric, hence the necessity of adding to them large quantities of sugar
to cover the taste of the acid.  Samples of British wines are exhibited
in the Collection.


The terms “distilled” and “ardent” spirits are applied to alcoholic
beverages which contain a very large per-centage of alcohol.

Those most commonly used are Gin, Rum, Whisky, and Brandy.

Alcoholic drinks when taken into the stomach act injuriously upon the
mucous membrane, and when absorbed into the blood excite the nervous
system.  When taken in too large quantities, or upon an empty stomach,
they lay the foundation of diseases of the stomach and surrounding
organs, which often terminate in death.  Their action on the nervous
system, though pleasant and agreeable, and even healthful in small
quantities, becomes a source of fearful disease when carried to excess.

It is difficult to procure alcohol pure, and distilled spirits always
contain a certain quantity of water.  A spirit having a density of .920
is called “proof spirit” in this country; and when distilled spirits
contain more or less alcohol than this, they are said to be “_under_” or
“_above_” proof.

The quantities of alcohol, water, and sugar in an imperial pint of
Brandy, Rum, and Gin, are shown in the Case 39.

The physical degeneracy and moral degradation attendant upon taking
alcohol in excess are well known; and no language is too strong to
condemn the folly and wickedness of those who thus convert one of the
blessings of Providence into a curse.

In Cases 38 the visitor will see samples of alcohol obtained from various
sources; also a variety of flavored spirits, or “liqueurs,” from various
countries, and a Japanese spirit or liqueur, distilled from rice, called
“soke,” or “saki.”


There is a large class of substances which are added to food for the
purpose of giving it flavour, and which on account of the volatile oils
they contain act as stimulants.  These substances are known as Spices and
Condiments.  They also serve as the basis of a large number of sauces,
which are sold ready prepared for the purpose of being added to cooked
food.  There is some difficulty in separating Spices from Condiments, but
the former are more generally eaten with sugar, the latter with salt.

In Cases 40 to 43 will be found an extensive series of Spices and
Condiments from various parts of the world.


There is another class of substances, which cannot be called either
condiments or spices, but which are extensively employed to render the
taste of food more agreeable.  Among these may be noticed (see Case 44)
oil of bitter almonds, vanilla, lemon, orange, and citron peel.

One of the most interesting discoveries of modern chemistry is the nature
of those essences which give the various flavours to fruits.  These
“artificial fruit essences” have been so skilfully imitated in the
laboratory of the chemist that they are extensively employed to flavour
confectionery, &c.  Examples of these artificially prepared fruit
essences, may be seen in the case.


Many of the organic acids resemble closely in their composition starch
and sugar, and may to a certain extent act on the system in the same way.
In the classification adopted in the Food Collection, they are classed
under _medicinal or auxiliary food_.

_Acetic Acid or Vinegar_ is obtained either from the oxidation of alcohol
in fermented liquors, or from the distillation of wood.  Common vinegar
is obtained from the oxidation of the fermented wort of malt.  A series
of preparations illustrating the processes undergone in the formation of
vinegar from malt has been presented to the collection by Messrs. Beaufoy
and Co.

_Citric Acid_ is contained in many fruits, but exists in greatest
abundance and purity in the fruits of the orange, the lemon, the citron,
the shaddock, the pommeloe, the lime, and others.  All these fruits
contain citric acid, and varying proportions of sugar.  Citric acid can
be separated from the juice of these plants in a crystalline form.

_Tartaric Acid_ is found in the juice of the fruits of the vine tribe,
more especially of the common vine.  This acid gives the acidity to the
fruit of the grape, and is the acid present in wines.

_Malic Acid_ is contained in the fruits of the natural order Rosaceæ.  It
has the same general properties as the other acids, and is contained
alone in apples and pears; whilst in cherries, plums, &c. it is mixed
with other acids.

_Oxalic Acid_ is contained in the wood sorrel, also in the common sorrel,
and various species of rhubarb.  Species of the latter genus are
extensively cultivated in this country, and the stalks of their large
leaves cut up and made into pies, puddings, &c.  They are ready for use
early in the spring, and are an excellent substitute for fruit in pies
and tarts at that season of the year.  Although oxalic acid is a _poison_
when taken in considerable quantities, as ordinarily consumed it probably
acts in the same way on the system as other acids.

For examples of Acids, Pickles of various kinds, &c., see Case 23.


The next and last group is that of Food Substances containing alkaloids,
which act upon the nervous system as stimulants or sedatives.  The
principal examples are Tea, Coffee, Cocoa, Tobacco, Hemp, and Opium.

Tea and Coffee have hardly any other properties in common than the
possession of an alkaloid called _Theine_ or _Caffeine_, which is
identical in the two.  Chocolate contains a peculiar alkaloid called
_Theobromine_.  Paraguay tea or “maté” is the only other substance
extensively used as a dietetic infusion that contains _theine_; in South
America it occupies the same position in domestic economy as Chinese tea
does in this country.  Case 46 exhibits the chemical analysis of a pound
of ordinary good Chinese Tea; and in Cases 47, 48, and 99, contiguously
placed, are numerous samples of tea from China, Japan, Java, Brazil, and
East India.

The analysis of a pound of Coffee is shown in Case 50; and many samples
of raw coffee from various parts of the world are exhibited.  The
visitor’s notice is directed to the printed descriptive label concerning
Coffee, which is suspended near the case containing the analysis.

_Cocoa_ is represented by the analysis of a pound of Cocoa paste in Case
53, and by a series of the fruit pods containing the seed or nuts,
presented by Messrs. Fry and Son, of Bristol, as well as by various
preparations and confections.  The distinguishing feature of its
composition consists in the large quantities of fat and albumen which it
contains; so that Cocoa not only acts as an alternative through its
_theobromine_, but as a force-producing and flesh and force-producing
food.  Samples of the commercial varieties of the nuts or seeds from
various countries are exhibited.


A variety of substances are exhibited in Case 49 in illustration of the
use of the leaves of various plants for making potable infusions.  The
most important is Paraguay tea or “maté,” which contains the same
alkaloid called _theine_, as the Chinese tea plant.  A quantity of “maté”
is shown, with calabash or dried gourd for making the infusion, and
sucking pipe for drinking it.  A large number of substances have been
employed from time to time as substitutes for Coffee, and prepared in the
same way.  Many of them are shown in Case 52.  In this country none of
these so-called Coffee Substitutes have established themselves in public
reputation, and are seldom sold.  Some of them, however, are used as
adulterants of Coffee.


Although Tobacco has been only comparatively recently introduced amongst
the inhabitants of the Old World, it is more extensively employed than
any other narcotic.  It is the produce of various species of the genus
_Nicotiana_.  The practice of smoking the leaves of these plants was
introduced from the New World.  The species, which is a native of
America, and which supplies the greater proportion of the Tobacco smoked
in Europe, is the _Nicotiana Tabacum_.  The leaves of these plants
contain an active and highly poisonous principle called _Nicotine_, which
is the agent that produces the narcotic effect experienced in smoking.
This narcotic effect resembles in some measure that of alcohol.  Tobacco
has, however, a less stimulant effect than alcohol, and produces,
especially at first, a greater derangement of the general nervous system.

The chemical analysis of one pound of Tobacco is exhibited in Case 98.
Cases 93 to 97 contain a series of specimens of the leaves of species and
varieties of Tobacco cultivated in various parts of the world, with
samples also of the Cigars and Tobaccos manufactured from them.

Examples of varieties of Snuffs used in this and other countries will be
seen in Case 97.  Snuffs are usually made from the stalks and ribs of
tobacco leaves.  Tobacco is liable to be adulterated with the leaves of
other plants; these, however, can be detected under the microscope.
Specimens of Tobacco adulterated with other leaves are illustrated in the
diagram near the cases.

Opium is used extensively as a medicine, on account of its power of
alleviating pain and inducing sleep.  It is a very powerful, and
consequently dangerous narcotic poison, and should never be taken except
under medical advice.  In small doses it acts as a stimulant.  On account
of this latter property and its subsequent soothing influence, it has
been indulged in by man, and is consumed largely in China and other parts
of the world as a dietetical luxury.  When taken for this purpose it is
smoked, and is generally consumed with tobacco or some other leaf in a
pipe.  Pipes used for this purpose in China are exhibited in the cases
containing Chinese food, with a collection of Chinese tobaccos, most of
which appear to contain Opium.

The practice of “opium eating,” as it is called, exerts a most
prejudicial effect upon the system; and although not rapidly destroying
life, the victim of this habit is after a time rendered perfectly
miserable if not able to procure this indulgence.  As is the case with
alcohol and tobacco, the system becomes accustomed to the use of this
narcotic, and prodigious quantities have been consumed by those who have
addicted themselves to the practice of taking it for the sake of its
effect on the system.

A series of preparations from Opium, presented by the Society of
Apothecaries, Apothecaries Hall, and specimens of other narcotic agents
are exhibited in Case 92.  The fruits of narcotic plants are sometimes
consumed in this country in mistake for other plants, producing fatal
effects.  Examples of some of these poisonous plants are exhibited in the
Collection, as well as diagrams of others.

                                * * * * *

Before closing this necessarily brief Guide to the Food Collection, it
may be as well to notice some illustrations which may be deemed
exceptional to the Classification.

_Fungi_.—The group of Fungi contains a number of plants which are eaten
as food, whilst many of them act as virulent poisons.  Those which are
edible contain varying quantities of starch, sugar, woody fibre, and
albumen, together with an acid called _fungic_ acid.  A large number of
species are eaten on the continent of Europe, which are not used in this
country at all.  Models of the common Mushroom, the Morel, and the
Truffle, are shown, as well as preserved specimens.

The visitor should notice the large Truffle from Australia called “Native
Bread.”  It is in Case 34.

A series of coloured diagrams or drawings of British Fungi taken from
living specimens, both edible and poisonous, are also exhibited, having
been purchased from the artist, H. Worthington Smith, Esq., F.L.S.

_National Foods_.—Various food products of foreign nations are included
in the Collection, and for the sake of illustrating _National Food_ have
been kept separate.  It is hoped that other collections of the same kind,
illustrating _national peculiarities of diet_ may be formed and presented
to the Museum.

In Cases 72 to 78 is an important collection of Chinese Food, which was
received in 1859.  The collection was procured from two districts,
Shanghae and Foo-Chow-Foo, and contains many curious and interesting
edible substances and preparations, some of them new to this country.
Descriptive labels are attached to every specimen.

Japanese, Siamese, and East Indian food products are shown in Cases 81 to

In Case 79 will be noticed a series of _edible birds’ nests_ from China,
Siam, Java, Borneo, and other countries.  These nests are formed by
swallows, two specimen of which are shown in the case.


This Collection, formed and arranged for the Department of Science and
Art by Andrew Murray, Esq., F.L.S., is exhibited at the eastern end of
the gallery, partly on the wall, and partly in glazed cases on the
counter.  It is intended to illustrate the ravages of such insects as are
known to be destructive to alimentary substances, or that are noxious or
injurious to man and domestic animals.  Also, those insects known to be
destructive to timber, or otherwise exemplifying the science of
Entomology in its relation to Forestry.  The Collection is contained in
42 cases, to which belong 31 framed diagrams and drawings.  This
Entomological Collection is yet incomplete, and may be considered as
still in course of formation.


The extensive employment of various substances for the Adulteration of
Food has led to the formation of a collection of those more commonly
employed.  In Cases 97 and 98 these substances are arranged according as
they have been obtained from the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdom.
They have been selected principally from the results obtained by Dr.
Hassall, and made known in his work “On the Adulteration of Food.”

The adulteration of _Milk_ with _Water_ is shown in Case 54.  These
examples are renewed weekly; and the use of the _lactometer_ or _milk
measurer_, is also exemplified in the same case.  The goodness of milk
can also be ascertained by means of the microscope.  The diagrams on the
wall represent good cream, good pure milk, bad milk, and the curd of milk
as seen under the microscope.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

           Printed by GEORGE E. EYRE and WILLIAM SPOTTISWOODE,
             Printers to the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.
                   For Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

_The following Publications are on Sale at the Catalogue Stall_.

SCIENCE DIRECTORY, with Regulations for Establishing and Conducting
Science Schools and Classes.  _Sixpence_.
ART DIRECTORY, with Regulations for promoting Instruction in Art.

                                * * * * *

*** _For information as to instruction in Science and Art in the Schools
established in the Eastern and North-eastern districts of London_, _see
the end cover_.

                                * * * * *

Instruction in Science and Art in the Eastern and North-Eastern Districts
of the Metropolis, in connexion with the Science and Art Department.

1.  Metropolitan District Schools of Art are established at the following
placed in the Eastern and North-eastern Districts:—

  St. Thomas’ Charterhouse, Goswell Street Road.

  Spitalfields, 12, White Lion Street, Norton Folgate.

  North London, Sandringham Road, Kingsland.

These Schools are open in the evening from 7 to 9.  There are female
classes at each school.  Applications for admission, prospectuses, or any
other information to be made at the schools in each district.

2.  Night classes for instruction in drawing in connexion with the
Science and Art Department are held in the following schools:—

  Bethnal Green National School.

  Hackney Parochial School.

  Mile End, Church Street School.

  Poplar, All Saints’ National School.

     „      St. Saviour’s National School.

  Stepney, St. Paul’s School.

     „      St. Philip’s National School.

  Whitechapel, St. Paul’s National School.

Science classes, in various branches of science, also in connexion with
the Department have been formed in the following schools:—

Bethnal Green      Birkbeck School.

                   Abbey Street School.

                   National School.

                   St. James the Less, National School.
Bow                Baptist Chapel School.

                   (Bow North) Old Ford Road School.
Hackney            Parochial School.

                   St. Thomas Square School.
Kingsland          North London School of Art, Sandringham Road.
Mile End           Church Street School.

                   Church of England Young Men’s Society.
Poplar             St. Saviour’s National School.

                   St. Mary’s School.

                   Boys’ National School.

                   (Poplar Bromley) William Street.
Stepney            Colet Boys’ School.

                   Blue Coat School.

                   St. Paul’s School.

                   St. Philip’s National School.

Information as to fees, &c. can be obtained on application at these

4.  The _Science Directory_ and _The Art Directory_, price 6_d._ each,
published by the Science and Art Department, contain full particulars of
the regulations for establishing and conducting Science and Art schools
and classes, with lists of those in operation.  To be had at the
Catalogue Stall.


                                OPEN DAILY

                            (except Sundays).

                                * * * * *

                      MONDAY, TUESDAY, AND SATURDAY,

                             ADMISSION FREE,

                         From 10 A.M. to 10 P.M.

                                * * * * *

                     WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, AND FRIDAY,


        From 10 A.M. to 4, 5, or 6 P.M., according to the Season.

TICKETS OF ADMISSION on Students’ days (available both for the Bethnal
Green Museum and the South Kensington Museum) are issued at the following
rates:—_Weekly_, 6_d._; _Monthly_, 1_s._ 6_d._; _Quarterly_, 3_s._;
_Half-Yearly_, 6_s._; _Yearly_, 10s.  _Yearly_ Tickets are also issued to
any school at 1_l._, which will admit all the pupils of such schools on
all Students’ days.  To be obtained at the Catalogue Sale-Stall of the

   The above arrangements are similar to those of the South Kensington


{7}  The whole of the official correspondence on the subject of the
establishment of this Branch Museum has been printed as a Parliamentary
Paper No. 218, session of 1872.

{9}  _Advantage has been taken to incorporate in this Guide much of the
information contained in the Guide to the Collection_ (_now out of
print_), _compiled by Dr. Lankester_, _in_ 1863, _for the Science and Art

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A brief guide to the Food Collection" ***

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