RECORD: Anon. 1893. A visit to Charles Darwin's home. Cambridge Independent Press (8 September): 7.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 12.2019. RN1

NOTE: Introduction by Christine Chua:

Toynbee Hall was a University Settlement founded by Samuel Barnett in 1884. Volunteers like Mr. Monk organised tours and expeditions.

[page] 7

On Saturday, a party of about 30 Toynbee Hall students, under the conduct of the energetic secretary, Mr. J. E. Monk, took train to Orpington, a village that a certain peculiarity of our greatest art critic has made famous. They walked across meadows, cornfields (denuded of corn), copses, and green lanes, with glimpses right and left of beautiful landscape, till the modest little spire of Down church, embowered in tress, came in view.

The village of Down is small and unpretentious, but its charm to interest are not likely to be soon forgotten. Entering the pretty little churchyard, you pass one of the most beautiful yew-tress to be seen in a lifetime., its girth being at least 20 feet. On the further side a plain, solid stab of red-coloured granite contains the honoured names of Erasmus Alvey Darwin, M.D., and his illustrious brother Charles Robert Darwin, who lived for 40 years at Down House, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

A little further stands Down House, where Mr. Frank Darwin courteously received the students, and took them in charge. The library, with its scientific works in several languages, the study chair, writing table, dissecting table, and its simple appliances were seen.

A powerful etching by Flameng, from a portrait of Charles Darwin by John Collier hangs on the wall. In the dining-room, a portrait of the amiable Erasmus Darwin, the poet of "Botanical Garden," smiled a benignant welcome on the inquisitive travellers. The best portrait of the great naturalist, that by Mr W. W. Ouless, is now at Cambridge, where some considerable portion of the library is also conveyed. Through the greenhouses, which are somewhat extensive, and across a paddock or two, the favourite walk of the philosopher is reached. Here he did a daily constitutional, and the legend runs that pile of stones stood on one side of the path from which he took one each time in passing, and on completing each lap, deposited it on the opposite side, and so forth till the pile had quite changes sides.

Later in life, he somewhat modified his custom, and a smaller pile of stones sufficed. After refreshment a delightful ramble in the cool of the evening through Holwood Park, and over Keston and Hayes Commons brought the party to Hayes Station and thence home.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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