- Layton’s Bequest
- Thomas Layton
- Layton’s Brentford
- Layton’s Library Project
Kew Bridge Station
Railway Cutting, 1849
In 2011 we discovered that fossil bones and antlers, presented by Thomas Layton, are in the collection of the Natural History Museum. With the help of Andy Currant, of the Natural History Museum’s Palaeonotology Department and Mike Savage, a volunteer at the museum and Friend of Gunnersbury Park & Museum, we went to see the finds.
The construction of the railway loop line from Waterloo to Hounslow reached Brentford in 1849. Fossil bones of oxen and bear, together with numerous antlers, were found during the excavation of the cutting at Kew Bridge Station in that year.
Most of these specimens have labels which indicate that they were presented by Layton in 1849. He was then 30 years old and still relatively young. As the railway excavations were only yards from his home beside Kew Bridge he could have kept an eye on the works in progress.
Hitherto we had thought that he had given away only one item, a sword which is in the British Museum. Now it is clear that he made this gift, which would also have been to the British Museum – the natural history department had not yet been transferred to the separate institution we now know at South Kensington.
Search the book catalogue which documents Layton's collection of over 6,000 books.
View items from the collection including archaeology, maps, prints, coins, books and manuscripts
The Layton Trail
Download a walk through Victorian Brentford and discover some of Layton's legacy
Discover materials for teachers and students created by our partners
On sale – Layton’s Legacy
Purchase a beautifully illustrated book by Mike Galer, called Layton's Legacy.