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The names Balfour and Newton commemorate Francis Maitland Balfour (1851-1882), Professor of Animal Morphology, and Alfred Newton (1829-1907) the first Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, in the University of Cambridge.
Balfour's books given by his family to form the nucleus of the Zoological Department Library were housed on the site of the Austin Wing of the Cavendish Laboratory until the Department moved in 1933.
The Newton collection, of ornithological importance, was bequeathed in 1907.