The Egyptian Hall, also known as Bullock’s Museum, while much smaller than the British Museum was extraordinarily unique. When Lord Admiral Nelson triumphed at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, English interest in the “East” began to soar. Although obelisks and other monumental pieces had been leaking out of Egypt for a century, Napoleon’s heavy thieving from Luxor and Karnak made Egyptian objects desirable amongst the European elite. Located in Piccadilly, the Egyptian Museum was commissioned by William Bullock as a museum to house his collection, which included curiosities brought back from the South Seas by Captain Cook. The museum was completed in 1812, and admission was set at 1 shilling, or 1 guinea for an annual ticket.
It was the first building in England to be influenced by the Egyptian style. The building was designed by Peter Frederick Robinson, the cost £16,000. The grand hall of the interior was an extraordinary replica of the avenue at the Karnak Temple complex, near Luxor. Artifacts and exhibits included an alabaster sarcophagus from the tomb of Seti I, Napoleonic relics in 1816 including Napoleon’s carriage taken at Waterloo, ancient Mexican antiquities from Mexico City, and a herd of reindeer with their harnesses and sleds accompanied by a family of Laplanders with their furniture and even their huts.
Bullock sold the museum to bookseller George Lackington in 1825, and over the decades the focus changed several times until 1905 when the building was demolished. A Starbucks now stands where the museum was… another reason to hate Starbucks. LOL!