March 12, 2007 - The diaries of Darwin's wife go online.

The personal diaries of Emma Darwin have gone online and span about sixty years of her life. The diaries provide us with a great deal of information on the family life of Charles Darwin, his wife, Emma, and their children. The 60 pocket diaries contain appointments, illnesses, family visits, and a wealth of other information on Darwin's personal life. "These books were found in a cardboard box in an old cupboard about 20 years ago," said the director of Darwin Online, Dr John van Wyhe. "People weren't really interested in the day-to-day Darwin then, just the Origin of Species." The diaries are available online at darwin-online.org.uk. Here you will find each page of Emma's diaries scanned and presented in an easy to navigate presentation. NB - Darwin scholars will be most pleased to discover that Emma's handwriting is far more legible than that of her husband, Charles.

NewsBar

February 27 2007 - Another Darwin movie is in the works.

Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, and writer John Collee ("Master and Commander") are working on a movie about Charles Darwin based on the book: "Annie's Box" written by Darwin's descendant Randal Keynes. The movie will focus on the relationship between Darwin and his wife and children, especially his first daughter Annie, who died in 1851 at age 10. Randal Keynes said: "I find it a very moving story. I'm so glad they are doing a film because I think it is important and helpful for people to understand Darwin the man and his feelings for his wife and his children. The film will focus on that and it will be good to see Darwin's life from that point of view." He added: "Darwin's experience with his daughter and her death, and his feelings afterwards influenced some of his most important ideas. I wrote the book to explain them to other people." Thomas expects to start shooting the movie next year on location at Down House. The movie is planned for release in 2009, the bicentennial of Darwin's birth.

NewsBar

February 12 2007 - Children follow in Darwin’s Footsteps.

Charles Darwin and his family were active members of the local community around Downe and we are celebrating his life in events, both public and private with the help of partners in the World Heritage Site bid and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In the 2 local schools which Darwin helped to fund, the children are making posters of the birds they see and looking at how their beaks help them eat different foods and their feet help them survive in different habitats. In a public event Natural History Museum staff are helping local people discover earthworms which Darwin studied throughout the area and we are helping the scientists develop an easy to use a new identification guide. The partnership is awaiting the decision of UNESCO in late June 2007 about its World Heritage bid.

For more information on the World Heritage Site:
http://www.darwinatdowne.co.uk

For more information about the area in Darwin’s time:
http://www.darwinswildlife.co.uk

NewsBar

February 3, 2007 - Darwin honored in his hometown.

In the city of Shrewsbury, where Charles Darwin was born in 1809, a series of "Welcome Signs" have been put up around the city boundary to commemorate their famous son. The signs also highlight the month-long Darwin Festival that takes place each February.

NewsBar

January 8, 2007 - Darwin geological exhibit to go on display.

The University of Cambridge's Sedgwick Museum has been awarded a £519,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to set up an exhibition of geological specimens collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on HMS Beagle. Dr David Norman, director of the Sedgwick Museum, said: "We are extremely pleased by this news from the HLF. Very few people realize that Darwin considered himself primarily as a geologist for the first 20 years of his remarkable scientific career. Bringing this period in his life to public attention for the first time and emphasizing how this energetic and inquisitive young man worked and developed as a scientist will generate a great deal of excitement." More than 3,000 geological specimens along with Darwin's notes will be on display. The exhibit will open in time for Darwin's bicentennial in February of 2009.

NewsBar

December 22, 2006 - Darwin check is discovered.

A check signed by Charles Darwin has been discovered after being hidden behind an old photograph in Christ's College Library, Cambridge. Dr John van Wyhe, a bye-fellow at Christ's College in Cambridge, is responsible for this rare find. "During visits to the Old Library I was curious to know if this signature was just a scrap of paper cut from a letter, or if it was written on a document still preserved, though sealed inside the frame." After being granted permission to open the frame, conservation officer Melvin Jefferson carefully pried it open. Van Wyhe said: "On opening the frame Melvin found the Darwin signature to be the endorsement on the back of a cheque. The entire cheque had been carefully folded and preserved so that just the signature on the book could be seen through the mount. The cheque is from the Union Bank of London, made out by Darwin to self for £100 on March, 21 1872." In today's terms, that amount of money would be the equivalent of about £6,000. The photograph had originally been given to an associate of Darwin, Frederick Dyster, and was believed to have been framed with the check folded inside in 1909. The picture was donated to Christ's College in 1934.

NewsBar

November 14, 2006 - Darwin movie being planned.

Screenwriter Chase Palmer is planning on making a movie based on the novel "Evolution's Captain: The Dark Fate of the Man Who Sailed Charles Darwin Around the World," written by Peter Nichols. The movie is to be called "Evolution's Captain", and will focus on the thirty year relationship between Charles Darwin and Robert FitzRoy, the captain of HMS Beagle. Production is due to begin once Palmer's current movie project, "Number 13", is finished.

NewsBar

October 19, 2006 - Darwin's works go online.

Dr. John van Wyhe, a researcher at Christ's College in Cambridge England, has started a very ambitious project to place the entire works of Charles Darwin on the Internet. He says he got the idea for the website when he was studying in Asia and found it difficult to research Darwin on the web. Although just half complete right now, the website already includes many of Darwin's notebooks and manuscripts which appear online for the very first time. Some of the gems you'll find on the website include: a first edition of the "Journal of Researches" better known as "Voyage of the Beagle", "The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle", multiple editions of "On the Origin of Species", "The Descent of Man", and Darwin's field notebooks from the Galapagos Islands. The website also includes the largest Darwin bibliography ever produced. The project, which is run by Cambridge University, has digitized some 50,000 pages of text and 40,000 images of original publications. All of it searchable! John van Wyhe says the archive is expected to be complete by 2009 - the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth. The website is free to everyone and includes German, Danish and Russian translations as well.

NewsBar

October 14, 2006 - Evolution is rejected in Poland.

Poland's deputy education minister, Miroslaw Orzechowski, will not allow Darwin's Theory of Evolution to be taught in Poland's schools. Orzechowski said that "The theory of evolution is a lie, a mistake that we have legalized as a common truth," and "We must not teach lies, just as we must not teach evil in the place of good and ugliness in the place of beauty." Teachers in Poland fear there could be a backlash if they continue to teach evolution in schools, and fear they will have a difficult time moving up the ranks in Poland's education system. Last week a high school in the city of Lodz had removed posters showing the evolution of man from Australopithecus to Homo Sapiens. In a move to counter the Education Ministry's anti-evolution message, Poles have emphasized a message from the late pope John Paul II, who in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996 said: "Truth cannot contradict truth."

NewsBar

October 4, 2006 - Darwin's clock controversy.

In the village of Downe, where Charles Darwin wrote "On the Origin of Species", a minor controversy has erupted. It seems the clock for St. Mary the Virgin church is in much need of repair, but the Vicar is said to have used Darwin's good name to raise the £3,000 needed to repair the church clock. Residents of Downe complained that the Vicar's claim that Darwin himself donated money to the church is entirely unfounded. The Reverend Tim Hatwell sees the complaint as a bit overdone and claims the Darwin connection to the church was a slightly tongue in cheek remark. A leaflet circulated by the Vicar to residents of Downe inviting them to contribute to the church's Victorian clock has this sentence included: "although we are not sure whether Darwin contributed to its installation, he certainly would have seen it as he walked through the village and heard it as it struck the hour." Reverend Hatwell said: "I was not and would not try and claim any religious significance of Darwin's involvement in the church but the church in those days had a social significance in the village it perhaps doesn't have now."

NewsBar

September 14, 2006 - Stolen Darwin book returned.

Amir Ladak, of Ealing England, admitted stealing a first edition of Darwin's "On the Origin of the Species" from Down House in February of 2004. He returned the book in July and was fined £3,000 at Croydon Crown Court on September 11th. He also has to perform 100 hours of community work. The book is estimated to be worth £100,000, but who can really put a price on such a treasure? He was caught after fingerprints from the dust cover of a Graham Greene book at Sothebys he stole were matched to fingerprints taken at Down House where the book was stolen. Chief Inspector Ian Gallehawk said: "In reality the book is priceless because it is absolutely irreplaceable. We were dealing with a national treasure and although the theft took place several years ago it wasn't something that was ever forgotten." The book, one of 300 first editions printed, was signed by Darwin who gave it as a gift to his friend and fellow scientist Sir Charles Lyell. English Heritage, which received the book from Bromley police last month, is not sure when they will display the book at Down House again.

NewsBar

July 22, 2006 - Darwin monument to be erected.

The Governor of New South Wales in Australia, Marie Bashir, will unveil a Charles Darwin monument at the city of Wallerawang on September 5, 2006. The monument is being erected by the National Trust to commemorate Darwin's two day visit to Wallerawang in 1836 during his voyage on HMS Beagle. The Lithgow Council and Delta Electricity have teamed up with the National Trust to make the Darwin monument possible.

NewsBar

July 21, 2006 - Darwin's Meadow in decline.

Several generations of Charles Darwin's descendants have just completed a survey of the meadows around Down House, where Darwin wrote "On the Origin of Species". Around 150 years ago Darwin completed a survey of plant species in these meadows, and today that survey has been replicated. One of the larger meadows, Great Puckland's Meadow, has experienced a 16% decline in plants - from 142 to 119 species. This reduction has been attributed to changes in farm practices over the past 150 years. "While scientists tend to focus on rare or unusual species, we have studied what is in essence a rather ordinary piece of grassland, it is this ordinariness that makes it significant." said Johannes Vogel, keeper of botany at the Natural History Museum, one of the scientists involved in replicating the study. The only new species in the field was the Beaked Hawk's-Beard. What makes this survey unique is the fact that a comparison can be made with Darwin's survey results from 150 years ago - a very rare opportunity. There are also a large variety of mosses and fungi in the surrounding meadows, but this survey left them out because they wanted to keep true to Darwin's primary interest in just flowers, plants and grasses. The survey team will be working with English Heritage to restore Great Puckland's Meadow to its original state in Darwin's day.

NewsBar

July 21, 2006 - HMS Beagle to be rebuilt.

A descendant of Lieutenant John Lort Stokes, who accompanied Charles Darwin on his voyage around the world aboard HMS Beagle, is planning to rebuild the famous ship. David Lort-Philips, a scientist from Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, and his partner, commercial yacht master Peter McGrath, have started the Beagle Project Pembrokeshire. They are working on the £3,300,000 plan to recreate a full-size version of HMS Beagle. Mr. Lort-Phillips, who still lives on the farm once managed by his ancestor, plans on having the ship ready by 2009 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth. Construction is expected to take about 14 months to complete. If the funds are raised, the new Beagle will be built by shipwrights in Milford Haven. The new Beagle will be a fully functioning ship but with a modern interior and will sail with a crew of university professors, science professionals, and students to undertake scientific research around the world.

NewsBar

June 23, 2006 - Darwin's Tortoise died today.

When Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835 he captured three tortoise and took them with him. The one which would eventually become known as Harriet, was just five years old at the time. The story (which is disputed by some) goes that Darwin took Harriet back to England with him and gave her to the Bishop of Llandaff in Wales, from here she found her way to the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane, Australia, and then spent her last years living at Steve Irwin’s zoo in Beerwah, Queensland, Australia. She died at the age of 176 of a heart attack on June 23rd, weighed 150 kg, and was the oldest living animal in captivity.

NewsBar

June 8, 2006 - Darwin collection is purchased.

The Kohler Darwin Collection, which includes nearly everything Darwin published from 1829 onwards, has been bought by the Natural History Museum in London for about £1,000,000 British pounds. The collection consists of about 3,500 items, which include 470 editions of "On the Origin of Species" and a rare copy of Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle, bound in original cloth, and a map of the Falkland Islands from the Beagle voyage. The science director for the Natural History Museum, Richard Lane, said: "This acquisition makes the Museum the ultimate Darwin resource. Darwin brought about a revolution in how humans think about themselves and the natural world. Combining this collection with our existing holdings give us an unprecedented insight into how the theory of evolution developed, and how Darwin worked." It will take about three years to move, catalogue, and conserve the collection, and it will become part of a major Darwin exhibition planned for 2008.

NewsBar

May 23, 2006 - Darwin's childhood home to be restored.

The Mount, Darwin's childhood home in Shrewsbury, is currently occupied by the District Valuer and Valuation Office Agency. But plans are being drawn up to convert the house back to its original condition from when Charles Darwin lived there and open it up to the public. The Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council hopes to have the restoration complete by the year 2009 - Darwin's bicentennial. Negotiations have started with the Valuation Office Agency to have them vacate the premises, but if these fail the council plans to use a compulsory purchase order to force them to vacate the house.

 
footer