15 June 2013

Charles Darwin's Home

A few months ago
I visited Charles Darwin's home

You know when you learn so much
that you need to put the information
through a sieve to see what gives the biggest impression?

While walking in the footsteps of such an iconic scientist,
here's a few things I took away from my visit

1) Charles's father didn't want him to go on the Beagle voyage
out of parental fear of the unknown
(who can blame him?)

But look at what was accomplished by Mr Evolution

2) Charles had boundless curiosity,
including a passion for studying barnacles and earthworms
(who knew?)

While he was studying earthworms and plants at home,
his wife insisted she have a proper flower garden
that he had to leave alone

3) When Darwin received a particular Madagascar orchid from a friend,
Darwin predicted that there must be an unusual moth with a proboscis 14'' long to pollinate it

Sure enough, the Hawk Moth was discovered forty-one years later
- aka Xanthopan morganii praedicta ('praedicta' since Darwin predicted it) -
and is the sole pollinator of the orchid Agraecum sesquipedale

4) Darwin knew his theory of evolution would be very controversial
and kept his theory a secret 
until another naturalist formed the same idea

5) Darwin had 10 children 
and he was unwell much of the time
(possibly due to an illness he picked up on his travels)

Most of his children survived childhood 
and became quite successful in a variety of careers
(his grandmother was from the porcelain Wedgewood family)

I loved visiting Down House in Kent, where Darwin raised his family,
wrote, and conducted experiments and observations

Although I would not recommend it for younger children per se,
the inner child in you will connect with Darwin's youthful curiosity and energy
and appreciate his life story

- photos by me -
Visitor information: English Heritage
(an unsponsored post)


Marina Pérez said...

Hi Laura! What an interesting post! I've loved it! It had to be a fantastic tour, another place I write down in my list of places I want to visit.



Kay G. said...

Hey Laura,
How much I would love to see the home of Charles Darwin! I find it interesting that his wife was very religious and yet, she seemed to have totally accepted her husband's findings. We should learn from her!
Thanks for this post!
Don't they call Kent the Garden of England, next to Sussex it is my favorite! (Of course, those are the only two counties that I have ever seen!) LOL

José María Souza Costa said...

Invitation - In
I'm Brazilian.
Spent reading here, and visit his blog.
I also have one, only much simpler.
I'm inviting you to visit me, and if possible follow together for them and with them. I always liked to write, expose and share my ideas with people, regardless of class Social, Religious Creed, the Sexual Orientation, or, of Ethnicity.
To me, what will interest is our exchange of ideas, and, thoughts.
I'm there in my space Simpleton, waiting for you.
And I'm already following your blog.
Strength, Peace, Friendship and Happiness
For you, a hug from Brazil.

Gina Howie said...

Very interesting. 10 kids!!! I had no idea that he had 10 children. They must have been so busy raising that many little ones. Thanks for sharing ~ hope to get there and visit one day.

Sissym Mascarenhas said...

Hi Laura!

That is an interesting place to go!
I think that is a fantastic tour in your wonderful country.

Nice to read you again.


Jenny Woolf said...

Nice post. From what I have read about the Darwins, I think it would b great to have been a "fly on the wall" in their home. They must have had so many interesting conversations.

likeschocolate said...

Wow! I didn't know any of this about him. I do know that he did belief in God and was misunderstood. Also, today it is believed that his evolution theory is wrong that instead of us developing the way Darwin said we developed linear meaning things developed in multiple lines at various times. Hard to explain. Thanks for the tour!

greenthumb said...

Very interesting.

Jeanie said...

Thanks, Laura -- what a fascinating post. I've always been intrigued by Darwin -- it's fun to see part of Darwin the man, not just the legend.

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

Such an interesting place to visit. Thanks for the post. I will add that to my list of places I want to visit when I"m next in the UK.

Sharon Parker said...

Thanks for the delightful post. Although I did know most of those things, I enjoyed the glimpses of his home and land, and learning that his wife wanted a proper garden that he had to leave alone! Who can blame her? I would love to visit Darwin's home some day and now it is on my list for perhaps our next trip to England. Darwin's research on orchids is quite amazing, by the way.

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I want that greenhouse!

PURA VIDA said...

Wow! I would love to go there! One of my favorite memories was sitting on Mark Twain's porch!

Privet and Holly said...

What a beautiful setting
and it's easy to imagine
Charles and his family
living there. My daughter
is a Darwin fan, so I will
share these facts with
her! I think you share
that same curiosity with
Mr. Darwin!

xo Suzanne

Willow said...

This certainly piqued my interest. Darwin's home and your information ...very interesting !