Dry Store Room No. 1 and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
£2.19
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum Hardcover – 19 Aug 2008


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, 19 Aug 2008
£26.39 £2.19


Product details

  • Hardcover: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group; First Edition edition (19 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307263622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307263629
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.3 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,116,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Fortey retired from his position as senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in 2006. He is the author of several books, including 'Fossils: A Key to the Past', 'The Hidden Landscape' which won The Natural World Book of the Year in 1993, 'Life: An Unauthorised Biography', 'Trilobite!', 'The Earth: An Intimate History', and most recently 'Dry Store Room No.1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum'. He was elected to be President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Product Description

Review

‘Fortey…in his affectionate portrayal of the institution in which he spent his working life…sneaks us behind the scenes with all the glee of a small child seeing for the first time the museum's iconic Diplodocus skeleton…always authoritative…the beauty of the book is that – just like a museum – you can visit the different sections in any order you choose, lingering in the places that most take your fancy…and there is plenty of solid science to enjoy, elucidated with brilliant flair.’ Sunday Times

‘Immensely satisfying…not just enjoyable and informative, but inspiring.’ The Independent

‘Richard Fortey…a superb writer, is the perfect guide to the extraordinary Victorian edifice that he compares several times to Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast.’ The Guardian

‘An enchanting book.’ Sunday Express

'Teeming with life, Fortey's prose is eloquent, lively and suffused with often self–deprecating humour.' New Statesman

‘Fortey has a scientist's regard for fact but a poet's delight in wonder. This is a rare intoxicating insight into a hidden community intent on unlocking the universe's myriad secrets.’ Metro

‘Engaging…Fortey's writing is enough to make the behind–the–scenes work of the museum totally fascinating…(his) delightful book, like the museum it describes, is both rambling and elegant.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Compendious and entertaining…much of the narrative interest of the book is carried anecdotally, by wonderful stories…it is a book filled with a passion for nature and pride in an institution that has done so much to compile its inventory. Fortey is a knowledgeable guide, with a keen eye and gentle humour’ Evening Standard

‘Richard Fortey’s wonderful book…shows the unspectacular elements of the museum collection as the most interesting part of its work, while placing the well-known exhibits in a new and often comical light…with eccentricity flourishing unchecked among its staff Fortey has amassed a brilliant collection of anecdotes about their habits’ Daily Telegraph

'His glorious new book is generously illustrated…the tale he tells is often very funny as well as erudite…it is impossible to avoid list–making in reviewing such a book. Really, all that needs to be said is simply read it, and enjoy it.' Country Life

More praise for ‘Dry Store Room No. 1’:

‘This book is worthy of the place it tells us about, and that is a pretty lofty chunk of praise’ The Times

‘In this loving survey of his life at the museum, Fortey…is never less than enthused by all the museum’s collections’ Financial Times

‘Fortey…in his affectionate portrayal of the institution in which he spent his working life…sneaks us behind the scenes with all the glee of a small child seeing for the first time the museum’s iconic Diplodocus skeleton…always authoritative…the beauty of the book is that – just like a museum – you can visit the different sections in any order you choose, lingering in the places that most take your fancy…and there is plenty of solid science to enjoy, elucidated with brilliant flair’ Sunday Times

‘Engaging…Fortey’s writing is enough to make the behind-the-scenes work of the museum totally fascinating…(his) delightful book, like the museum it describes, is both rambling and elegant’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Fortey has a scientist’s regard for fact but a poet’s delight in wonder. This is a rare intoxicating insight into a hidden community intent on unlocking the universe's myriad secrets’ Metro

Praise for ‘The Earth’:

‘Richard Fortey is without peer among science writers.’ Bill Bryson

‘“The Earth” is a true delight: full of awe-inspiring details…it blends travel, history, reportage and science to create an unforgettable picture of our ancient earth.’ Sunday Times

‘This is not a book for people who like science books. It is a book for people who love books, and life…Fortey has written a wonderful book.’ Tim Radford, Guardian

‘Read this book because it is, indeed, the best natural history of the first four billion years of life on earth.’ John Gribbin, Sunday Times

‘[an] enchanting book…it cannot be denied that the denizens of the Natural History Museum…might well be the ones to ride to the rescue and help reverse or check the environmental catastrophes that increasingly face us’ Sunday Express

‘Fortey writes beautifully and this is a wonderful biography of rock and life…He has restored palaeontology to its rightful place in the pantheon.’ Lewis Wolpert, Observer

‘The tale of life needs constant retelling. Thank some happy accident of history that we have Fortey to tell it to us anew.’ Ted Nield, New Scientist

‘This book is a metaphor: a book about a museum that is itself a museum…a natural history of the Natural History Museum. It contains collections, of objects and of people; it educates and entertains; it helps you to see the world, and the NHM with new eyes.’ Spectator

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

`Sneaking behind the scenes with the glee of a child... there is plenty of solid science, elucidated with flair' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By LettyBIRD on 18 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dry Store Room No.1 is a wonderful book that allows the reader an insight into the fascinating world of the Natural History Museum, London. In this book Mr Fortey tells us; not only about the exhibits, but also about the work behind them and the men and women who carried out this work. We learn about all sorts of things from the ghastly stenches of the pit where Whale carcasses are stripped of flesh to the curator who obsessively categorized everything including "string too short for further use".

The science parts can occasionally be a bit hard to understand but like another reviewer I see that as my lack of understanding not Mr Fortey's lack of clarity and besides what would life be if we didn't stretch ourselves once in a while.

I thoroughly recommend this for the sort of person who likes a behind the scenes look at life.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rotgut VINE VOICE on 11 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Richard Fortey is brave to include the word "Dry" in the title of this scientific ramble, since "dry" is exactly what a prospective reader could think when confronted with a book about the inner workings of a museum. However, enough gossipy anecdotes are included in with the facts and figures to ensure that a light tone is sustained throughout this long and affectionate look at a major British institution.

The author's love of his subject, London's famous Natural History Museum, shines through this book, and it is no surprise when he informs us that he, like many other scientists in the museum who he has described in this book, after his retirement continues to work there "for nothing."

This may seem like a rather chaotic, even random, book; Fortey makes this point himself saying "It does not pretend to be a comprehensive account...It is just my own collection-projects that caught my eye..."(p317.) However, it is saved from being merely a description of unconnected work and personalities of the Museum by the fact that the author does have a strong, personal message to impart.

Fortey argues forcefully, particularly in the last chapter, for the importance of taxonomy, the naming of names, the identification of species as part of a natural history museum's remit. He contrasts "This fundamental if...unglamorous science" with more easily funded areas of research, more "hypothesis testing" than pure investigations into the organisms themselves. This is an area of conflict the general reader is unlikely to be even remotely aware of, but Fortey explains the clash and argues very clearly for pure taxonomy to be the basis of future funded work.

Reading this book, the reader gets the impression that for our fossil loving author, and many of the eccentric colleagues he describes, their work is a deeply held vocation. It is easy to admire and even envy them, working in such a fantastic and magical place.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Big Jim TOP 100 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
This more than just a description of a museum. This is also a journey into the history of the natural sciences and a part biography as well. Well illustarted, Richard Fortey describes an institution that is trying hard (and succeeding if the new Darwin Centre is any guide)to move with the times, make science accesible to the public, yet has more going on behind the scenes than we could ever give credit.

Anyone who lives in or visits London should pay more than one visit to this marvelous place, and thanks to this book they will be well briefed as to what goes and has gone on there.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Bor on 1 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
The title refers to an obscure, hidden room in the non-public section of the London Natural History Museum, which houses all the forgotten, but fascinating animal artifacts that once played a purpose in highlighting some scientific truth to the public or researchers of the museum. The idea is that this book is a similar room for Forty as he recalls the various curious human creatures that inhabit this famous building.

The style of the book reflects this metaphor - at times being almost too exuberant, but at least interesting and imaginative, but at other times, especially when describing the science, becomes somewhat dry and jargon-laden. It also meanders around, somewhat at random.

The book has opening and closing chapters which generally talk about the place and its works, with specific chapters in the middle covering the various departments of the Natural History Museum - animals, plants, minerals, etc. Fortey meanders between revealing elements of the research behind the secret, scientist-based half of the Natural History Museum, and describing its history, both in terms of the building and its originators, and various colourful workers that passed through its doors. He conveys very well the passion, dedication and eccentricities that are consistent themes for everyone who works tirelessly on cataloguing the organic world. The people do come alive, with Fortey's close descriptions of their appearance and characters, even if at times his words seem a little overly dramatic and the act therefore a little desperate to make everyone appear interesting.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KirkW1 on 11 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
Oh, how I love Richard Fortey... his books, his all-too-rare TV appearances, his love of obscure marine arthropods...

Fortey's 'biography' of the Natural History Museum is everything that my crushingly disappointing first visit to the NHM was not. On my second ever visit to London, I dragged myself to Kensington, jetlagged and with a raging flu, yet hoping to see just a fraction of the collection that I had dreamt of since childhood. What did I find? A kiddy playground of flashing lights, endless interactive 'multimedia' exhibits involving pushing buttons and buzzing noises, and lots of embedded screens showing films of everything BUT the collection. It was one of the biggest letdowns of my life. If there was any science going on, I certainly didn't see it. It felt more like a suburban amusement park.

Perhaps I am being unkind and grumpy, or perhaps I have gone mad and in my flu-ridden state did not see the brilliant exhibits hidden just 'round the corner. But my overwhelming impression was one of disappointment... especially knowing what objects would have been lurking behind the public galleries.

Of course the kiddies need their entertainment, and museums are a great way of engaging them with science early on. But a little bit of content for those of us over the age of 12 would not have gone astray. I can understand a lesser institution resorting to bells and whistles and things that go 'wheee' to get the punters in... but Britain's Natural History Museum??

Anyway, back to Dr Fortey's wonderful book... I can't help but wonder if some of his colleagues are still talking to him after the publication of 'Dry Store Room No. 1'!
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback