Brilliant minds and a messy house

Down House: the Kentish home of Charles Darwin and family

Anja Müller-Wood and John Carter Wood

At the invitation of my friends John and Anja, authors of the esteemed weblog Salacious Puddings, I went on Sunday to visit the house of Charles Darwin at Downe near Bromley in Kent. Down House is owned by English Heritage, and has been nominated as a World Heritage Site. Open to the public throughout the year, entrance to the house and grounds will cost you a hefty £7.40 (half price for childerbeest, and free for members of English Heritage), but I do recommend the experience.

Down House is where the gentleman-scientist worked on his theory of the evolution of species by means of natural selection. Ground floor rooms have been furnished to reflect the domestic life of the large Darwin family. The sitting room, for example, has in it the piano and bassoon played by Charles’ wife Emma and son Francis, and Charles’ study holds his writing desk and a number of biological specimens and instruments used by the founder of evolutionary biology. Upstairs rooms contain a number of exhibits suitable for all ages, and the grounds a most splendid vegetable garden. In places the house displays Emma’s untidiness: a trait she apparently passed to her children.

Many thanks to John and Anja for a great day out!