It is a slow long side project of Chris’s but he is working his way through Journey of the Beagle by Charles Darwin. So when we found out we only lived about 40 minutes from where Darwin used to live and where he also wrote the origin of Species we decided to visit a few days ago.
Darwin’s old house is open to the public and it’s a rather grand house, he certainly was born into a privileged background. The downstairs of the house is still kept the same and the upstairs has been converted into a series of exhibitions detailing not only Darwin’s life and works but also those of his family. In fact in the children’s rooms you can still see where the eldest child carved his name into one of the cupboards shelves. The gardens and the original hot house are also there and if you’re ever in the south east of England it’s well worth a visit.
Unfortunately you are not able to take any photos inside the house so we were unable to get a photo of the famous study where he wrote the origin of species but we did get some exterior shots.
The front of the house.
The back, taken from the garden.
Darwin's hothouse where he was able to grow his more exotic plants.
Not a surprise to find the gardens were our sons favorite part of the day - he certainly slept well that night.
If however you find yourself in central London then the natural history museum offers a free guided tour around their Zoology spirit building where they have the largest collection of the original specimens collected by Darwin on his Journey of the Beagle (the second biggest collection of Darwin’s original specimens is in the natural history museum in New York). Me and Chris did this tour a few years ago and its quite spooky. They have thousands of jars full of animals in formaldehyde, from a tiny jar with a mouse to enormous jars filled with sharks and primates. The scientist doing the tour tells you how they preserve all the specimens (a lot of which is over 100 years old) and their ongoing work. I remember the whole centre was very cold as they have to keep the temperature below a certain degree as all the alcohol in the formaldehyde makes the area very flammable! Its not for the really squeamish but very interesting, plus they have a giant squid which sealed the deal for us.