Saturday, 16 October 2010

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street WC1

I am all for appropriate decoration on the facades of our great institutions, such as the figure of Justice on the Old Bailey or the statue of Cromwell outside the Houses of Parliament. But the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine might have crossed a line with the gilded bronze sculptures on its balconies.

Fruit fl
Sensitive people might get the heebijeebies.
Most of the creepy-crawlies are unpleasant but not generally lethal, like the flea or the bedbug.
Fruit flies are almost completely harmless and are even contributing mightily to medical knowledge because of their position as study species of choice for scientists.
Even the cobra does not kill many because it is too large to survive in competition with housing estates and roads.
The rat is more of a hygiene problem than a mass-murderer. Bubonic plague, spread by a parasite on the brown rat, has not been significant for years.
There are two real killers here, however.
The Anopheles mosquito spreads malaria and the Culex mosquito distributes Nile fever and a number of other nasty diseases round the tropics.
Biodiversity notwithstanding, I for one wouldn't weep if they went extinct tomorrow. 
Culex mosquito

Anopheles mosquito

I am indebted to Emma Golding, assistant archivist at the LSHTM, for identifying the creatures.


Hels said...

I don't like animals with more than 4 legs :(((( Nor do I like those that slither, legs-free, as it were :( So that leads me to the all important questions:

How high up are the balconies of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine? Can a pedestrian see the gilded bronze sculptures clearly?

Chris Partridge said...

Perhaps you should avoid Keppel Street, Hels. The bugs are on the first floor balconies, poised to leap down on unsuspecting pedestrians and bite them to death.
They are visible in the context photo in the previous post.

Ron Combo said...

A tick nearly did for me once.

Chris Partridge said...

It didn't fall on your head? They looked perfectly securely attached to me....