Showing the founding collection at Bethnal Green and South Kensington Museums

This table gives a list of the displays outlined in the (partial) catalogue of the Bethnal Green and South Kensington Museums displays published in 1874 and reprinted in 1878. The accession books were drawn up in the 1920s by E.S. Thomas at the Pitt Rivers Museum when the collection was transferred to Oxford. They appear to give the case/screen headers for the displays of founding collection objects at Oxford and these have been matched to the London displays as much as is possible. It is interesting to see how some displays had changed in nomenclature etc between 1874 and 1930.

To find out more about the scientific series, see here.

Bethnal Green / South Kensington Museum displays [as outlined in the Catalogue]

Pitt Rivers Museum founding collection displays as outlined by Pitt Rivers accession books*

Is there still a separate display for this category of object now in PRM?

... Human skulls and hair ...

1884.106. Hair samples & added category

1884.139. Skulls Physical Anthropology




Defensive armour, shields

1884.30. Defence Shields


Body armour

1884.31. Defence Armour


Head-dresses and Helmets

1884.32. Defence Helmets

[Sort of]


1884.25. Throwing knives and allied chopping knives, boomerangs


Bird-headed picks New Caledonia



Implements for accelerating flight of the dart, bows, crossbows and quivers

1884.15. Weapons Bows

1884.16. Weapons Cross-Bows

1884.17. Weapons Quivers



1884.12. Weapons Clubs



1884.55. Paddles



1884.13. Staves


Spears, Javelins and Arrows

1884.19. Weapons Spears Darts





Spears with 2 or more points




1884.20. Harpoons


Blades with ogee section, bellows and ironwork

1884.34. Ogee blades

[as part of spears etc]

Axe, halberd, glaive etc

1884.21. Axes & Halberds

1884.22. Glaives



1884.18. Weapons Blow-guns Darts and Quivers


Morning stars, flails, holy-water sprinklers

1884.14. Whips goads etc


Hand stones and slings

1884.29. Weapons Slings Lassos and bolas


Knives, daggers and swords

1884.24. Swords etc




Modes of navigation

1884.54. Modes of Navigation

1884.81. Modes of Navigation Boats etc and accessories


Representative arts of savage and early races

?Not clear what this category included but might have been:

1884.62. Design Human Form in Art Development and Degradation

1884.65. Human form in Savage Art

1884.66. Human form in Barbaric Art

1884.67. Human form in Barbaric Art and Civilised Art

1884.68. Animal form in art

[Sort of]


It is not clear what this category included: if it was ornamentation of design e.g. loop coil etc then:

1884.61. Design - Development and Degradation of

1884.63. Design (Development of Geometrical)

1884.64. Design Loop coil

1884.69. Art and Painting Fancy Carving


Personal ornament

1884.73. Personal Ornaments Shell Bone

1884.74. Personal Ornaments Teeth and Claws

1884.75. Personal Ornaments Nuts, seeds etc

1884.76. Personal Ornaments Bead-Work of Glass Shell and Beads

1884.77. Personal Ornaments Pendants

1884.78. Personal Ornaments Torques Ring Bracelets

1884.79. Personal ornaments Penannular and Ring Brooches

1884.80. Personal Ornaments Bronze Belt Ornaments Clasps Studs Hooks Buckles: Belt Ornaments

1884.81. Personal Ornaments Silver Clasps etc Bronze Clasps and buckles including plain buckles

1884.82. Personal Ornaments - Metal bangles bracelets anklets

1884.83. Personal Ornament Headdresses

1884.84. Deformation Personal Ornament Nose and Ear


Pottery and substitutes for pottery

1884.7. Primitive Food etc Vessels (Substitutes for Pottery)

1884.35. Pottery Primitive and Ancient Hand-moulded

1884.36. Pottery Tools

1884.37. Pottery Ancient Wheel-made

1884.38. Pottery Ancient Cypriot

1884.39. Ancient Cypriot Pottery and Stone Heads and Figurines

1884.40. Pottery Chiefly modern

1884.41. Miscellaneous pottery

[NB it is possible that the items of glass, basketry etc listed as not matching a PR South Kensington Museum category might match here as items ‘substituting for pottery’]



1884.33. Tools


Deities and religious emblems

1884.58. Religious emblems: Images and Accessories

1884.59. Religious Figures


Clothing and weaving

1884.46. Weaving

1884.87. Clothing Fibre skirts hide string etc

1884.88. Clothing N American Indns

1884.89. Clothing India, Ceylon. Costume models.

1884.90. Clothing

1884.91. Hats and Headdresses

1884.92. Shoes etc

1884.93. Fans

1884.94. Umbrellas and Sun shades



1884.27. Firearms

1884.28. Fire Arms Accessories


Illustrations of modes of hafting stone implements




Pre-historic series:


Natural forms



Simulating artificial forms



Illustrations of forgeries and modern fabrications



Palaeolithic implements

1884.122. Stone Implements Palaeolithic Period

1884.124. Upper Palaeolithic Implements


Neolithic implements

1884.123. Neolithic and Mesolithic Madelainean etc

1884.125. Neolithic implements

1884.126. Neolithic celts


Bronze implements and iron implements

1884.119. Implements Copper Bronze

1884.120. Iron Implements

1884.121. Iron Implements Swords Knives Daggers


Stone implements of modern savages

1884.127. ‘Modern’ stone etc implements Hammers Axe heads

1884.128. Modern Stone Implements Mullers etc Pestles Mullers

1884.129. Whetstones (hones) and polishers burnishers

Net Weights

Modern Stone Implements Pitted pebbles etc

1884.130. Modern Stone etc Implements Sinkers Weights



Here is a list of the cases or displays or sub-sections identified in the PRM Pitt-Rivers' founding collection accession books that are not matched to Bethnal Green or South Kensington Museum displays:

1884.1. Model Houses etc

1884.2. Locks and Keys

1884.3. Headrests and Stools

1884.4. Cradles and Baby Carriers

1884.5. Spoons

1884.6. Food bowls etc

1884.8. Fire-making

1884.9. Agricultural Implements

1884.10. Domestic Utensils etc for Food Preparation etc

1884.11. Food Quest - Fishing

1884.23. Shark tooth weapons

1884.26. Ceremonial Weapons

1884.42. Ancient Glass

1884.43. Basketry twill and checker

1884.44. Basketry Coil and Wicker work

1884.45. Bark cloth beaters

1884.47. Metal working Tools, implements etc

1884.48. String-work Net-work etc

1884.49. Snow shoes Skates

1884.50. Horse-shoes etc

1884.51. Stirrups Saddles Spurs

1884.52. Riding Horse-bits

1884.53. Horse etc Trappings and Furniture

1884.56. Charms Magic etc.

1884.57. Treatment of Dead

1884.60. Primitive Medicines and Instruments

1884.61. Design - Development and Degradation of [poss matched]

1884.62. Design Human Form in Art Development and Degradation [poss matched]

1884.63. Design (Development of Geometrical) [poss matched]

1884.64. Design Loop coil [poss matched]

1884.65. Human form in Savage Art [poss matched]

1884.66. Human form in Barbaric Art [poss matched]

1884.67. Human form in Barbaric Art and Civilised Art [poss matched]

1884.68. Animal form in art [poss matched]

1884.69. Art and Painting Fancy Carving [poss matched]

1884.70. Toilet Appliances

1884.71. Hair-pins and combs

1884.72. Pins

1884.85. Deformation Tatoo [sic]

1884.86. Deformation Skulls and figurines of pottery etc

1884.95. Fly Whisks

1884.96. Pouches, Bags, Belts, Sashes

1884.97. Weights and Scales Measuring (length, time)

1884.98. Writing etc

1884.99. Currency

1884.100. Toys and Games

1884.101. Smoking pipes

1884.102. Snuff taking

1884.103. Chewing Betel etc etc

1884.104. Distaffs Spindles etc

1884.105. Needles and Cases

1884.107. Music Bells

1884.108. Music Percussion

1884.109. Music Percussion Drums

1884.110. Music Percussion

1884.111. Music Wind

1884.112. Music Trumpets

1884.113. Music Stringed Instruments

1884.114. Masks

1884.115. Headhunting trophies

1884.116. Lamps

1884.117. Miscellaneous

1884.118. Implements Bone Ivory Horn

1884.131. Stone ‘Implements’ Cores

1884.132. Stone Implements Flakes

1884.133. Stone Implements Worked Flakes Scrapers

1884.134. Stone Implements Knives Spearheads etc

1884.135. Stone Implements Arrow heads of flint etc

AP, November 2010, this table was first prepared during the ESRC funded 'Relational Museum' project.

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