Tori Reeve

Författare till Down House: The Home of Charles Darwin

1 verk 40 medlemmar 1 recension

Verk av Tori Reeve


Allmänna fakta



In 1842, the newly married Charles and Emma Darwin moved out of London to the village of Down in Kent. The house that they had purchased was an old 18th century mansion on 18 acres, and here they were to live 40 years, until Charles Darwin's death in 1882. "Down House" provided a place of seclusion where Charles could study, write, conduct his experiments and descriptive research, and grow his botanical specimens and raise the birds he used in his studies of artificial selection. He and Emma also raised a large family here (of 10 children, 7 survived to adulthood), and the mansion and its outbuildings also housed servants and animals. In the early 20th century, the house was converted to a girls' school, but was turned into a museum in 1929. Today, visitors can walk the very grounds that Charles Darwin trod, see the study where he did his writing and experiments, visit the parlor and the billiard room, peruse books in his library, enjoy the plants in his greenhouse, and even peek into the closet 'neath the stairs where he stored the first draft of his evolutionary writings (with a note to Emma to open it on occasion of his death). Indeed, Down House is an important stop for tourists interested in 19th century England, and an indispensible pilgrimage for those with scientific interests.

This small 52 page book, published by English Heritage, offers a beautiful, informative guide to Down House, replete with excellent photographs, diagrams, pictures, and text. The first part of the book is devoted to Down House itself, and focuses successively on each of the rooms, followed by the garden, the lawn, the greenhouse, and the Sandwalk (where Darwin took his twice-daily constitutional). The second part of the book focuses on history of the house, mainly during the Darwins' residence there, but also before and after. Of particular value are the diagrams that show the successive modifications to the house, since it was more than doubled in size during the Darwins' residence, in order to house their large family and the staff of servants. Other aspects focus on the village of Downe (as it came to be spelled), the writing of Origin of Species, and Darwin's scientific legacy.

Down House: The Home of Charles Darwin is a superb resource and an invaluable one, since much of its content is buried in books now out- of- print. It is superior to one published a few years ago as a tour booklet, and clearly, great care went into its writing. Its publication is a tribute to the great scientist who revolutionized biological science and changed irrevocably our understanding of life's diversity and our own relationship to the rest of the natural world.
… (mer)
6 rösta
danielx | Nov 7, 2010 |