The Darwin Trip

[John Wahlert]


June 23 - July 11, 1998

Draft: 23 June 1998

[Tarik Cherkaoui]

This trip is funded by a grant to Baruch College entitled, Darwin and Darwinism: Scientific Theory and Social Construction (EW 20113-93). The goal of this trip is to take photographs for web pages that disseminate information about the grant. The original program "Leadership Opportunity in Science and Humanities Education" was sponsored by three agencies: the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, and the National Science Foundation.

NOTE: This page is on our web site, but it is purposely not linked to any other page because I do not own the rights to any of the scanned images. They are there to aid us in recognition of the buildings we intend to photograph. At present this page is only for dissemination to Darwin Seminar participants and as information to the granting agencies.

Sources of images are listed at the end of the document.

A REQUEST FOR PICTURES: We will not be able to travel to all the places we would like within the time available. If any viewer has pictures that would enhance our web site and would be willing to share them with the world, we would like to use them. Digital images (compressed files *.jpg, please) can be sent to us by email: We will also scan and return images mailed to us, but please send an e-mail inquiry first:

Prof. John H. Wahlert
Natural Sciences, Box A-0506
Baruch College
17 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10010
Photographers will be credited on our web pages.

CAMERAS: We have selected three, 35 mm cameras.

  • An Olympus Stylus Zoom 80 wide DLX (a point-and-shoot) with a range from 28 mm to 80 mm. The manufacturer recommends 400 ASA film. Initial tests from indoor portraits (using the built in flash) to monumental building in New York City produced sharp slides with good exposures. I (JHW) stupidly turned on the date stamp function and ended up with the date in orange along the side of each picture; we have learned to turn it off.
  • A Nikon FM2 with an AF Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens. This manual camera puts us in control. We are about to test it (5/19). We plan to use slower film in this camera.
  • We plan also to take two disposable cameras with high speed film.

WHY SLIDES? Having slides transferred to a Kodak Photo CD yields digital images that hold the subtlety and sharpness of the originals from a close up of my cat (JHW) to a grassland scene in Kenya. Image files can be opened at 5 different resolutions, the highest being 2048 x 3072. We judge this to be the best way to capture high quality images for use in web pages.

Travel Guide Sources:

  • Porter, Darwin, and Danforth Prince. 1998. England from $60 a Day. Macmillan, New York. 740 pp.
  • Rossiter, S., ed. 1980. Blue Guide England. Ernest Benn Limited, London. 720 pp.
  • Tanford, Charles, and Jacqueline Reynolds. 1995. A Travel Guide to Scientific Sites of The British Isles. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 344 pp.

See also additional references at the end.

We appreciate especially the help received from Mr. Richard Milner, The American Museum of Natural History, and from Dr. James Moore (pers. comm, 22 May 1998), Department of the History of Science and Technology, The Open University. Both of them looked at our travel and photography plan, gave advice, and made helpful suggestions.

Dr. Moore cautioned us: "You should verify all these things - name changes, numbering changes, demolitions, and rebuildings - through the Greater London Record Office in Central London. Take nothing for granted unless you have a verified old photograph to compare. ... You must be very careful about buildings and changes of address. The Royal Society, today in the old (Nazi) German embassy, was formerly in The Strand. Maer Hall was rebuilt; the extant one Darwin never visited (although the site, with lake and church, remains). The present Linnean Society headquarters (including library and lecture room) is not the one Darwin frequented etc."

Note: Check the dates on cornerstones: I=1, V=5, X=10, L=50, C=100, D=500, M=1000 (because JHW forgets)


LONDON & ENVIRONS: Tuesday, June 23 through Sunday, June 28

The Royal Society, 6 Carlton House Terrace, is just off Waterloo Place between Pall Mall and The Mall. It is less than five minutes walk to Picadilly Circus underground station. The library is open Monday to Friday 10 AM to 5 PM. Founded in 1660. Phone: 01 71-839 5561. picture of Carlton House
The Athenaeum, where Darwin was a member. picture of Athenaeum

The Geological Society, Burlington House, Picadilly. Phone: 01 71 434 9944.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 70] "The society was formed in 1807, meeting originally in Somerset House on the Strand. ... There is a bust of Charles Lyell in the library and pictures of other famous geologists hang on the walls.

picture of Burlington House

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House (built in 1869-1873 specifically to house learned societies), Picadilly, founded 1788. Phone: 71 2879364.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 69] "The society's focus is on biological diversity and evolution; it publishes books and periodicals and holds regular meetings for its members. The most famous such meeting took place in 1858, when the society rooms were still in Old Burlington House--this was the meeting at which the papers of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace were read, announcing their essentially identical proposals for evolutionary origin of species."

picture of Old Burlington House
Herbert Spencer's latter-day Bayswater address, which until the 1980s had a crude plaque by the front door (J. Moore, pers. comm.) picture of house
Charles and Emma Darwin settled in lodgings in Great Marlborough Street off Regent Street, London. Letters (Burkhardt) sent from 43 Great Marlborough Street (editor's notation) and 36 Grt. Marlborough St. picture of building
[p. 72-73] "Soho Square, close to Tottenham court Road Underground station, is about 15 minutes' walk from Piccadilly Circus. Number 32, in the southwest corner, was the London home of Joseph Banks (1743-1820), the leader of the party of scientists who accompanied James Cook on his first voyage of disvovery--the name Botany Bay for the expedition's first anchorage in Australia reflects the spirit of the voyage. ... Brown was president of the Linnean Society, which held its meetings in this house form 1821 to 1857." picture of Number 32
Broadwick Street --[Tanford & Reynolds: 73] "Here we have the site of the celebrated water pump! London physician John Snow (1813-1858), with offices nearby at 54 Firth Street (where there is a plaque), demonstrated in this place that public water supplies can be the source of infectious disease--he traced 500 fatal cases of cholera in 1854 to water from this single source, and halted the epidemic by taking the handle off the pump. ... The 'John Snow Pub' now occupies the site, with a replica pump outside..." picture of pub and pump

Charles and Emma leased a town house with garden in Bloomsbury. The site on Gower Street is now occupied by the Darwin Lecture Theatre of University College.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 77] "The present Biological Sciences building on Gower Street stands on a site where Charles Darwin had his home from 1839 to 1842. There is a blue plaque outside and a wooden one within."

picture of Biological Sciences building
Charles Lyell's residences: "Before his marriage, Lyell (a barrister) lived at 2 Raymond Buildings, Grays Inn, i.e. an Inn of Court. After marrying in 1832, he was at 16 Hart Street, Bloomsbury and then in Harley Street - number 11 from about 1845, number 53 from 1855, and number 73 from 1866. The Harley Street residences may well survive, and the Grays Inn building. Hart Street does not appear on my map, but then, as often happened, its name may have changed. (J. Moore, pers. comm., 22 May 98) picture of Lyell's house

The Natural History Museum and the Geological Museum. Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-6. Phone: 01 71 938-9123.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 82] "...statue commemorating Richard Owen, the founder of the museum, which stands impressively on the main staircase. Owen had for many years been supervisor of the natural history collection of the British Museum and presided proudly over its move to independent quarters in Kensington."

picture of Natural History Museum

Carlyle's House, Cheyne Row. Open Wed-Sun, April to October. Phone 01 71 352-7087.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 83] "Dinner guests included everyone who was anyone. Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens might well sit at the same table. Lyell was a frequent guest, as was Charles Babbage, retrospective 'father' of computers. There was much verbal sparring and acrimonious argument and Darwin, in particular, had little use for Carlyle: 'I never met a man with a mind so ill adapted for scientific research,' he wrote in his autobiography. ... (Note: We cannot be entirely sure that Charles Darwin actually ever came to Carlyle's house. Charles' older borther Erasmus was the family enthusiast for dinner parties and would certainly have attended frequently..."

picture of Carlyle's House
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Home page of]

"The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is situated on the banks of the River Thames between Richmond and Kew in south west London. They consist mainly of two estates, the Richmond Estate and Kew Estate, which once belonged to the Royal Family...

With the deaths of both George III and Sir Joseph Banks in 1820, the botanic gardens fell into decline and in 1840, they were handed over to the State. Soon after, the Royal Family donated additional areas of surrounding land--thereby extending the size of the Gardens to 81 hectares. The following year, Sir William Hooker was appointed as the first official director. He established the Museums and Department of Economic Botany in 1847 and the Herbarium and Library in 1852. The Palm House was finished in 1848 and in 1860 construction began on the Temperate House.

Sir William's son and successor, Sir Joseph Hooker, oversaw the founding of the Jodrell Laboratory in 1876.

pictures of Royal Botanic Gardens
John Murray, Publisher, London picture of company
Brother Erasmus's house in Queen Anne Square, London (where Darwin often stayed in later years). Charles and Emma in turn attended dinners at Erasmus's house and that is where the encournters with Carlyle may have taken place." [Tanford & Reynolds: 83] picture of Erasmus Darwin's House

September 1842, the Darwins move to Down House on the outskirts of the village of Downe near Orpington in Kent. It is 15 miles from St. Pauls.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 105] "The ground floor of Down House serves as a museum, and recently has become a satellite of the Natural History Museum in London. The drawing room and the 'Old Study' are furnished more or less exactly as they were when Darwin lived here. The study was his daily workplace for 35 years and we can see the chair by the window where he did his writing, with a cloth-covered lapboard on which to rest the paper; his microscope stands close by. The study is in the front of the house and the windows face the public lane which runs alongside--Darwin had the road level lowered and put in the wall we now see in order to gain more privacy. Even then passers-by on horseback could look in.

"The most interesting part of the visit is the Charles Darwin Room, formerly the dining room, now a display room for paintings, photographs and showcases of memorabilia. It contains a model of H.M.S. Beagle, for example. Another room is devoted to manuscripts and books of grandfather Erasmus Darwin and the 'New Study' (Darwin's workplace after 1877) houses a rather superficial exhibit on evoluiton, from when the earth was 'a mass of whirling gases' until the appearance of modern humans."

Down House

The Old Study

The following letter is copied as exactly as possible in HTML from F. Burkhardt's excellent anthology of Darwin's letters (1996, Cambridge Univ. Pr., pp. 74-76).

To Catherine Darwin [24 July 1842]
[12 Upper Gower Street]

My dear Catty

You must have been surprised at not having heard sooner about the House.. Emma & I only returned yesterday afternoon from sleeping there.-I will give you in detail, as my Father would like, my opinion on it.-Emma's slightly differs.-Position.-about ¼ of a mile from small village of Down in Kent 16 miles from St. Pauls-eight miles & ½ from station, (with many trains) which station is only 10 miles from London-This is bad, as the drive from the hills is long.-I calculate we are two hour's journey from London Bridge.... Village about 40 houses with old walnut trees in middle where stands an old flint Church & the lanes meet-Inhabitants very respectable.-infant school-grown up people great musicians-all touch their hats as in Wales, & sit at their open doors in evening, no high-road leads through village.-The little pot-house, where we slept is a grocers-shop & the land-lord is the carpenter-so you may guess style of village-There are butcher & baker & post-office.-A carrier goes weekly to London & calls anywhere for anything in London, & takes anything anywhere.-On the road to the village, on fine day scenery absolutely beautiful: from close to our house, view, very distant & rather beautiful-but house being situated on rather high table-land, has somewhat of desolate air-There is most beautiful old farm-house with great thatched barns & old stumps, of oak-trees like that of Shelton, one field off.-The charm of the place to me is that almost every field is intersected (as alas is our's) by one or more foot-paths-I never saw so many walks in any other country-The country is extraordinarily rural & quiet with narrow lanes & high hedges & hardly any ruts-It is really surprising to think London is only 16 miles off.-The house stands very badly close to a tiny lane & near another man's field-Our field is 15 acres & flat, looking into flat-bottomed valleys on both sides, but no view form drawing-room, wh: faces due South except our own flat field & bits of rather ugly distant horizon.-Close in front, there are some old (very productive) cherry-trees, walnut-trees-yew.-spanish-chesnut,-pear-old larch, scotch-fir & silver fir & old mulberry-trees make rather a pretty group-They give the ground an old look, but from not flourishing much also give it rather a desolate look. There are quinces & medlars & plums with plenty of fruit, & Morells-cherries, but few apples.-The purple magnolia flowers against house: There is a really fine beech in view in our hedge.-The Kitchen garden is a detestable slip & the soil looks wretched from quantity of chalk flints; but I really believe it is productive. The hedges grow well all round our field, & it is a noted piece of Hay-land This year the crop was bad, but was bought, as it stood for 2£ per acre, that: is 30£.-the purchaser getting it in-Last year it was sold for £45.-no manure put on in interval. Does not this sound well ask my father? Does the mulberry & magnolia show it is not very cold in winter, which I fear is the case.-tell Susan it is 9 miles from Knole Park-6 from Westerham-seven from Seven-Oaks-at all which places I hear scenery is beautiful.-There are many odd views round our house deepish flat-bottomed valley & nice farm-house, but big white, many, ugly fallow fields; much wheat grown here -- --

House ugly, looks neither old nor new.-walls two feet thick-windows rather small-lower story rather low.-Capital study 18 x 18. Dining room, 21. X 18.-Drawing-room can easily be added to is 21. X 15. Three stories, plenty of bed-rooms-We could hold the Hensleighs & you & Susan & Erasmus all together.-House in good repair Mr Cresy a few years ago laid out for the owner 1500£ and made new roof-Water-pipes over-two bath-rooms-pretty good office & good stable yard & & a cottage.-House in good repair.-I believe the price is about 2200£,& I have no doubt I shall get it for one year on lease first to try.-so that I shall do nothing to house at first.--

(Last owner kept 3 cows, one horse & one donkey & sold some hay annually from our field) -. I have no doubt, if we complete purchase, I shall at least save 1000£ over Westcroft, or any other house. We have seen-Emma was at first a good-deal disappointed & at the country round the house; the day was gloomy & cold with NE wind. She likes the actual field & house better than I; the house is just situated, as she likes for retirement, not too near or too far from other houses-but she thinks the country looks desolate-I think all chalk-countries do, but I am used to Cambridgeshire, which is ten times worse.-Emma is rapidly coming round.-She was dreadfully bad with toothache, headache, in the evening, of Friday-but in coming back yesterday she was so delighted with the scenery for the first few miles from Down, that it has worked great change in her.-We go there again the first fine day Emma is able & we then finally settle what to do...

The great Astronomer Sir J. Lubbock is owner of 3000 acres here, & is building a grand house a mile off-I believe he is very reserved & shy & proud or fine-so I suspect he will be no catch, & will never honour us...


The sandwalk--Darwin's favorite walking place
The Sandwalk
The wormstones picture of worm castings
Downe parish church picture of the church
The George and Dragon public house, Downe (headquarters of the Down Friendly Society) picture of the pub
Grave of Mary Darwin, who is buried in the churchyard of Downe. picture of church and grave
Leith Hill Place, near Dorking, Home of Joe and Caroline Wedgewood (Josiah III); Charles and Emma Darwin were frequent visitors. Getting there: Daily train service from London's Victoria Station to Dorking picture of Leith Hill Place
ALBURY (Near Guildford, Surrey)

Albury Park, a mile west from the modern village; The Old Parish Church (not the larger church nearby) is normally open during daylight hours.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 102] "The church is also associated with Robert Malthus (1766-1834), who lived here with his parents (while holding the curacy of an outlying parish) in the period when he wrote his famous essay on population. ... There is an encloseure for family graves in the churchyard, but Robert himself is buried in the Abbey in Bath."

picture of Old Parish Church

SHREWSBURY & ENVIRONS: Monday, June 29 through Thursday, July 2

[Rossiter: 386] "Shrewsbury (58,100 inhab.), pronounced 'Shrowsbury' by its natives (Salopians) and by pupils of its famous school, is the county town of Shropshire, and is strikingly situated on a peninsula of rising ground, encircled by the Severn on all sides but the N. Its medieval remains--churches and timbered houses--its picturesque, quaintly named streets, its fine situation, and the beauty of its environs invest it with great interest for the tourest. It was England's fortress against Wales, as Durham against Scotland, and remains on eof the principal gateways to the Principality."
[Tanford & Reynolds: 184] "Shrewsbury, as seen by the visitor, is a constricted town, with most of the old parts squeezed into a loop of the River Severn. Charles Darwin was born here in 1809 [February 12] and there is a bronze statue of him in this inner area, near the Castle, in front of the town library. The library used to house Shrewsbury School, where Darwin received his education to age 16, at which time he left to study medicine in Edinburgh. ... Outside the Severn loop across Welsh Bridge is Darwin House ('The Mount'), where Charles was born and where his father practised medicine--it is now an office building, with the gates closed outside office hours. Darwin's father and mother are buried at Montford, about five miles to the west." 
[Rossiter: 388] "From the Quarry we may follow the path along the river bank to the Welsh Bridge (1795), the 'reddie waye' to Wales, from the end of which Frankwell ascends to Darwin House, birthplace of Charles Darwin (1809-82)."
The Mount
View of the Severn from The Mount.
The Severn
Darwin and his sister Catherine attended a day school kept by the minister of the Unitarian Chapel (Bowlby, p. 61). Does the structure still exist? picture

Charles started attending Shrewsbury School in the summer of 1918 at age 9. The school was about one mile from the Mount. He spent 7 years there.

[Rossiter: 388] "On the brow of the hill, on the opposite side of the river, in Kingsland, reached via Kingsland Bridge (toll) is Shrewsbury School, founded in 1552 by Edward VI and now one of the leading public schools in England. The present buildings, by Sir Arthur Blomfield were opened in 1882; the Speech Hall was added in 1911. The statue of Sir Philip Sidney was erected as a war memorial in 1923. Among pupils of the school were Sir Philip Sidney, Fulke Greville, Judge Jefreys, Dr Burney, Charles Darwin, and Samuel Butler (of 'Erewhon'). Dr Butler, later bishop of Lichfield, was its headmaster for nearly forty years (1798-1836)." [see above; this building is not where Darwin attended school.]

Shrewsbury School
"I often became quite absorbed, and once, whilst returning to school on the summit of the old fortifications round Shrewsbury, which had been converted into a public foot path with no parapet on one side, I walked off and fell to the ground, but the height was only seven or eight feet." (quoted in Bowlby, p. 62) picture of the fortifications
The Mostyn Owen residence at Woodhouse, Shropshire (home of Darwin's flame Fanny Owen) Woodhouse residence

Charles often visited nearby Maer Hall in Staffordshire, the home of his Wedgwood cousins.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 179-180] "Maer Hall, in the village of the same name about ten miles southwest of Stoke, is a historical site for any scientifically oriented visitor because of its intimate connection with Charles Darwin--the fact that it can only be viewed at some distance from the outside is no drawback, for it is the ambience of the setting that fascinates.

Maer Hall was the home of Josiah Wedgwood II, the elder Josiah's son and Charles Darwin's father-in-law. The Hall (which has passed through several owners) and the gorgeous estate on which it sits have changed little since the Wedgwood days, except that much of the surrounding land no longer belongs to the owners of the manor. Seen from the churchyard on the hill across the street it gives an impression of enormous wealth and good living, testimony to the highly privileged segment of society from which Charles Darwin derived.

Maer Hall
Charles presumably first became acquainted with his future wife at this time--She was Emma Wedgwood, his mother's cousin. They were married about ten yerars later in 1839 (after the voyage of the Beagle) in the Parish Church of St. Peter, which stands connected to the Hall by a stone bridge across the road. The marriage certificate is reproduced in a pamphlet that can be purchased in the church." picture of Parish Church of St. Peter

The Wedgwood Potteries, Stoke-On-Trent (Staffordshire)

[Tanford & Reynolds: 187] "Pottery is still Stoke's bread and butter and the city's tourism is centered on its history and present activities. You can see Burslem, the 'Mother of Potteries', on the northern outskirts of the city, where the first Wedgwood factories were located, and Etruria, where manufacturing was done from 1769 to 1950--there is an industrial museum there and the Wedgwood family home, now skilfully incorporated into the Moat House Hotel."

picture of Etruria Works
Etruria Hall

[Rossiter: 366] "Lichfield, notable for its cathedral and its associations with Dr Johnson, is a peaceful old place (22,700 inhab.), whose inhabitants Johnson said were 'the most sober, decent people in England--the genteelest in proportion to their wealth, and spoke the purest English.'

"The best way from the market-place to the cathedral is by Market St. and Bird St., which we follow to the right. In Bird St. are the George Hotel, scene of Farquhar's 'Beaux Strategem', the Swan, where Johnson and the Thrales put up in 1774, and the King's Head Inn, where the South Staffordshire Regiment was raised. Farther on, beyond a public garden with a statue of Capt. Smith, of the 'Titanic' (sunk in 1912), is the Library & Museum with local history collections (daily 10-4 or 6). The office next door occupies the site of the early home of David Garrick (1717-79); tablet). Farther on, to the right, is the hoiuse where Erasmus Darwin lived from 1756 to 1781 (tablet)."

[Tanford & Reynolds: 178 & 179] "Perhaps surprisingly, the town also makes quite a little fuss over Erasmus Darwin, who had his medical practice here for twenty -five years, but devoted himself with equal energy to the affairs of Birmingham's Lunar Soceity and to his own scientific work and publications. ... Darwin's imposing residence at the edge of Cathedral Close still stands and is marked by a plaque."

[King-Hele: 14] "At the end of 1757 Darwin married Mary Howard, and soon after took a pleasant house at the edge of the cathedral close."

Erasmus Darwin's house

DERBY & DERBYSHIRE: Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5

Derby (Derbyshire). [Tanford & Reynolds: 174] "A later renowned native was Herbert Spencer (1820-1902), social theorist and psychologist, but also an early advocate of evolution, albeit of the Lamarckian (adaptive) variety--he coined th phrase'survival of the fittest' in 1852, some years before publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. The most prominent resident was Charles Darwin's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, who lived and practised medicine here from 1781 until his death, and who founded the Derby Philosophical Society (modelled on the Birmingham Lunar Society) in 1783. Darwin and Spencer are remembered by plaques at the corners of the bridge across the Derwent River on Derwent Street--both lived nearby, Darwin on Full Street and Spencer on Exeter Row."

[Duncan: 9] "The house in which George Spencer and his wife began their married life, and in which their son first saw the light on April 27,1820, was 12, Exeter Row, now 27 Exeter Strteet, the fourth entry from the Exeter Arms."... [p. 12] "Early in 1927 the family returned to Derby, settling in the house No. 8 (afterwards 17, now 31) Wilmot Street."

27 Exeter Street

31 Wilmot Street
[King-Hele: 140] [Erasmus Darwin] "married Elizabeth Pole on 6 March 1781 and went to live with her at Radburn Hall, four miles west of Derby and twenty miles north-east of Lichfield

Radburn Hall (Plate 9A) still stands much as it was then, an impressive red-brick mansion with a large flight of steps up to the door and a triangular munumental frieze across the top of themain front. Built in 1730, it stands in a park of about 600 acres, at one corner of which lie the church and hamlet of Radbourne (as it is now known)."

Radburn Hall
[King-Hele: 155] "In the autumn of 1783 the Darwins left Radburn, as planned, and moved into their house in Derby." The House on Full Street was demolished in 1933.
Darwin House on Full Street
The Derby Philosophical Society was started by Erasmus Darwin. [King-Hele: 160] "The meetings were to be at the King's-Head Inn on the first Saturnday of every month at 6 p.m...."picture of King's-Head Inn
Erasmus Darwin died at Breadsall Priory in 1802. Breadsall Priory in the town of Morley is now a hotel and country club.
Breadsall Priory
Osmaston Hall, the home of Darwin's cousin and informant W. Darwin Fox (i.e. in Derbyshire), who kept a menagerie of animals and children (J. Moore, pers. comm.) picture

Ashbourne (Derbyshire). [Tanford & Reynolds: 169]"Promotion of female education was one of [Erasmus] Darwin's numerous enthusiasms and in 1794 he set up a girls' school in Ashbourne, with his two daughters as teachers... The school building still exists, presently serving as an old people's home; it is called Madge House, after a Dr Madge, who had his surgery here for many years.

Ashbourne is 13 miles west of Derby on the A52. Madge House is at 58 St. John Street, at the corner of Park Road; it has a plaque to commemorate the school."

picture of Madge House

CAMBRIDGE: Monday, July 6 through Tuesday, July 7

In the Autumn of 1827, Charles started attending Christ's College, Cambridge University.

[Rossiter: 494] "Following St Andrew's St. towards the N., we next reach Christ's College, established in 1505 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond (1443-1509), mother of Henry VII, largely at the instance of St John Fisher, then chancellor. It absorbed Godshouse, a small college founded by William Byngham in 1436 on the site of King's College Chapel, and refounded on the present site in 1448."

[Tanford & Reynolds: 193] "Darwin is commemorated at the college by a bust and by a little piece of garden, known as the 'Darwin Shrine', set in an inconspicuous corner behind the Master's Garden."

Christ's College
Darwin's house in Fitzwilliam Street, opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum in Trumpington Street and marked by a blue plaque. picture of house
[Tanford & Reynolds: 193] "Three of Charles Darwin's sons--the ones who had a scientific career--eventually settled in Cambridge. Darwin College, across the river on Silver Street was built around the former home of George Darwin (1845-1912), who was Plumian professor of astronomy for nearly thirty years... The George Darwin home has a certain notoriety because it is the centre of action of Period Piece, an amusing and irreverent book by Gwen Raverat, George's daughter, which is all about growing up in Cambridge in the 1880's. Darwin College (created in 1964) is an exclusively postgraduate college... The old part of the building still looks much like the sketches in Gwen Raverat's book and the traffic outside is just as heavy. A large painting of charles Darwin hangs upstairs, outside the master's office.". picture of George Darwin house
Bottisham Hall, Swaffham Bulbeck, Cambridgeshire (home of Leonard Jenyns, where Darwin visited and hunted beetles); Jenyns was Vicar of Swaffham Bulbeck, a fenside parish. Bottisham Hall
Kings College Chapel picture
Fitzwilliam Museum picture

London: Wednesday, July 8 through Saturday, July 11

PLACES OF GREAT INTEREST--visit if possible


University Museum. Mon-Sat, 12-5.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 161] "When first opened in 1860, the museum housed all the university departments of science and even contained a chemistry laboratory, but the present museum is wholly for display, dedicated to geology, zoology, entomology, and other aspects of natural history. ... One notable historical occasion is marked. It was in 1860, at a meeting of the British Association convened here to celebrate the opening of the building, that the much publicised debate took place between Thomas Huxley (champion of Darwin and evoluiton) and Samuel Wilberforce (Bishop of Oxford, Dean of Christ Church). ... The debate itself took place in another room off the gallery--there is a plaque outside the door."

picture of University Museum
Charles left home in the summer of 1825 to begin medical studies at the University of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh University
FALMOUTH, where Darwin disembarked the Beagle and set off by the Mail for Shrewsbury picture of Falmouth
The Beagle sailed from Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth on December 27, 1831.
Catwater, Plymouth

Birmingham (West Midlands). [Tanford & Reynolds: 170] " The town hall, council house, central library and the museum and art gallery line the square [Chamberlain Square]. The museum is principally dedicated to art, but it has a local history gallery on its lowest floor, which is well designed and informative and includes a panel on the Lunar Society, the little scientific discussion group founded by Erasmus Darwin, which met in the members' houses by the light of the moon so as to be able to find their way back home late at night. Pictures of twelve of its fourteen members are shown, including Darwin, Priestley and Watt and the latter's industrialist partner, Matthew Boulton."

picture of the City Museum: The Lunar Society.


SELBORNE, (near Alton, Hampshire)

In June, 1857, Darwin visited Selborne, the home of Gilbert White (1720-1793). [Tanford & Reynolds: 115-116] "The Gilbert White Museum in Selborne occupies the house in which White lived almost all of his life and it admirably recreates the atmosphere of the times. ... White is buried in the Churchyard [St. Mary's Church, across the street from the museum] and his gravestone carries (as he wished it) only a simple inscription: 'G.W. 26th June 1793. .... The museum is open daily mid-March to end of October, weekends only the rest of the year, 11-5:30. Phone: -1 420 511275. home. picture of White's home
The hothouse at Chatsworth which Darwin visited. picture of the hothouse
Zoological Museum, Tring (near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire)

[Tanford & Reynolds: 167] "The jewel in the crown is a collection of skins of Darwin's finches from the Galapagos Islands, many of them from the Beagle voyage itself, other brought in later by naturalists following in Darwin's footsteps--some were originally here in the Rothschild collection, were sold to the Natural History Museum in 1932, and have now returrned 'home'."
picture of the Zoological Museum, Tring
Montreal House, Malvern, where Annie Darwin died in 1851; her headstone in the priory churchyard there. pictures of Montreal House &Annie's grave

Halesworth, Suffolk.

[Tanford & Reynolds: 207-208] "William Hooker (1785-1865), born in Norwich, was a precocious dilettante until Dawson Turner of Great Yarmouth took him in hand and persuaded him to settle down to serious botany. Hooker did so, buying a share in Turner's profitable Halesworth brewery to provide an income, coming to live in Halesworth (in what used to be known as the Brewery House) and eventually marrying Turner's daughter--their son Joseph was born in Halesworth in 1817. ... Hooker House presently houses offices for two dentists; it stands at the corner of Quay Street and Saxons Way, a few yards form the town's principal car park."

picture of Hooker House
Malthus's home and gravesite [Tanford & Reynolds: 119] "Bath Abbey is the final resting place of Robert Malthus (1766-1834), political economist and author of the famous essay on population, setting out the principle that unchecked human population growth would eventually outstrip our food supply. ... Malthus home for the last years of his life, the place where he died, is at 17 Portland Place, in an area of fashionable homes with good views." picture of Malthus's home


Bowlby, John.

1990. Charles Darwin: A New Life. W. W. Norton & Company, New York. 513 pp.

Drawing of Down House (p. 251), Christ's College (p. 95), Shrewsbury (p. 69), The Mount (p. 43). the Severn (p. 42), Shrewsbury School (p. 64), Maer Hall (p. 49), Edinburgh University (p. 84)

Duncan, David.

1908. Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer. D. Appleton and Company. New York. Vol. 1. 414 pp.

Houses at 27 Exeter St. and 31 Wilmot St., Derby

King-Hele, Desmond.

1977. Doctor of Revolution: The Life and Genius of Erasmus Darwin. Faber & Faber. London. 361 pp.

Radburn Hall and Erasmus Darwin's house on Full Street, Derby

Moorehead, Alan.

1969. Darwin and the Beagle. Harper & Row, Publ., New York. 280 pp.

Catwater, Plymouth (p. 40)

Breadsall Priory

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Last updated with corrections 6 August 2003 (JHW)