London visitors' last chance to see Dippy ahead of tour
A museum's famous dinosaur is set to be disassembled ahead of its national tour.
Dippy the diplodocus, a 70ft long (21.3m) plaster-cast sauropod replica made up of 292 bones, is set to leave the Natural History Museum in Kensington later this year.
A six person team will start a three-and-a-half week dismantling of Dippy on Thursday.
He is being moved as the museum is having a front-of-house makeover.
Dippy's spot is being taken by the real skeleton of an 83ft (25.2m) female blue whale weighing 4.5 tonnes.
She will take up position in a diving pose as she is suspended from the ceiling of the hall.
The whale is more than 100 years old and – unlike Dippy – she is not a cast.
On Thursday construction will also begin on a tunnel to protect visitors during the dismantling of Dippy.
This tunnel will take three to four days to build and will almost totally obscure Dippy from view.
Parts of him will then be cleaned and repaired ahead of the two-year tour.
The tour will start early next year with Dorset County Museum set to be the first stop.
He will also visit Birmingham Museum, Ulster Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Great North Museum in Newcastle, the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff, Number One Riverside in Rochdale, and Norwich Cathedral.
When Dippy returns he will be re-cast in bronze and become the first thing visitors see as they approach the museum from South Kensington tube station.