Last Monday, following a tip from a Rabbi friend of mine, I took the kids to visit the Natural History Museum in Tring. The Museum was set up in Victorian times by Walter Rothschild of the famous banking dynasty.
Walter Rothschild collected animals from all over the world for his private collection. By all accounts he was a remarkable character. On his death, the Rothschild family gifted the museum to the nation in 1937.
Anyway, it is a lovely museum with a quite wonderful range of different species on display. I think my favourite was the huge crocodile. The kids certainly enjoyed their time there. I have visited the large NHM in London many times but had never heard of this little treasure in Tring – so thank you, Rabbi!
A historical sidenote: the infamous Balfour Declaration – in which the UK government promised to give Palestine to the Jews as a ‘national home’ – was addressed to Baron Walter Rothschild. He died before Israel was founded so we will never know what he would make of today’s situation in which the Israeli government seems intent on grabbing ever more land from the Palestinians for their illegal Jewish settlements in defiance of international law.
On our way out from the museum we stopped by the museum’s shop. And what did I see on display in the children’s books section? Well, believe it or not, there was a colourful book called ‘Walter the farting dog’.