Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England on 12th February 1809. Having made a number of trips to north Wales to study marine animals and collect insects while still a teenager, he developed an interest in the natural world that would occupy his entire life.

He studied for his degree at Christís College, Cambridge where he attended botany lectures given by John Stevens Henslow and on passing his BA examinations in 1831 he returned home to Shrewsbury to find an invitation from Henslow to join the Beagle expedition. He sailed from Plymouth on 27 December on a voyage that would take five years and eventually earn him a permanent place in history.

HMS Beagle circumnavigated the world visiting the Cape Verde Islands, Falklands Islands, both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America, the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, St Helena, Ascension Island and The Azores.

Darwin wrote a number of books and scientific papers throughout his life but is best known for his work On the Origin of Species published in 1859.

Charles Darwin died on 19th April 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, London

The full text of On The Origin of Species is available by clicking on the picture below:
On the Origin of SpeciesHMS Beagle

For much of his life, Charles Darwin lived in Down House, near Westerham in Kent and this is open to the public. Click here for further information.

Courtesy of Herdwick Landscapes of Cannock, Staffordshire, the Museum has a 1/48th scale model of Down House as part of our exhibition on Charles Darwin.

Down House

Although Charles Darwin's name has become synonymous with the first general scientific theory of evolution by natural selection, this accolade is actually shared with Alfred Russel Wallace. On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection was the title of a joint presentation of two scientific papers to the Linnean Society of London on 1 July 1858. On The Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type by Alfred Russel Wallace and An Extract from an unpublished Work on Species from Charles Darwin's Essay of 1844. The papers appeared in print on 20 August 1858 and this spurred Darwin to write and publish On the Origin of Species.

Click Here for further information about Alfred Russel Wallace.