Down House Visit

CPS members visit Down House, home to Charles Darwin where he wrote On the Origin of Species.

CPS Memebers outside Down House - Home of Charles Darwin

Photo: CPS Memebers outside Down House - Home of Charles Darwin

Each year CPS members visit a different location of scientific interest on a summer visit. This year members visited Down House, home to Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin, lived at Down House for 40 years until his death in 1882. The house stayed within the Darwin famiily until 1906, when it was sold and became Downe School for Girls (1907–1922).

The house, with its extensive gardens was used by Darwin as an open-air laboratory. It was here that Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection and wrote his groundbreaking work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859).

Members enjoyed a guided tour the of the house and gardens by the wonderful and insightful staff at Down House. CPS Vice-President Dr Claire Barlow also joined the visit. Claire is a direct descendent of Charles Darwin and a Trustee of the Charles Darwin Trust. Professor Jim Secord, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science and Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project gave a talk on Darwin and Down House to CPS members.

The house is run by English Heritage, who acquired it in 1996 with a grant from the Wellcome Trust. The CPS donated £1,000 towards the appeal. Over this time rooms in the house have been stored, along with the gardens. Much of what you see today are original items that once belong to Darwin and were returned on loan from the Darwin family and the Charles Darwin Trust.

As a benefit of membership of the CPS, members take part in free visits throughout the year to various science related locations across the UK. To join the Cambridge Philosophical Society visit our membership page here

CPS members on a guided tour of the gardens at Down House.

Photo: CPS members on a guided tour of the gardens at Down House.

The Glasshouse in the gardens at Down House, erected in the 1860s.

Photo: The Glasshouse in the gardens at Down House, erected in the 1860s.

Professor Jim Secord,  Professor of History and Philosophy of Science and Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project gives a talk on Darwin and Down House to CPS members.

Photo: Professor Jim Secord, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science and Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project gives a talk on Darwin and Down House to CPS members.

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