RECORD: Anon. 1891. Bromley Naturalists' Society: Excursion to Keston Rectory, the Rookery, and home of Darwin. Bromley & District Times (7 August), p. 6.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe. 7.2020. RN1

[page] 6

Never before have the members of the Bromley Naturalists' Society spent a more enjoyable afternoon and evening, or been more cordially bestowed at the hands of those who had invited them to inspect their grounds there, on Saturday last [1 August], when the fourth excursion of the session was most successfully engaged in.

The members and friends, including the Rev. F. W. Haines, the Rev. C. H. and Mrs. Wright, Mr. F. Lubbock, and Mrs. Lubbock, Messrs. Willmott, Holland, Spooner, Judd, Webster and others, […]

It being now past seven o'clock, the members hurried on past the quaint village of Down to the home of the great naturalist, the late Charles Darwin. Here Captain Darwin [Leonard Darwin] welcomed the party, and one by one introduced them to the widow of the naturalist, a hale and hearty lady fully 70 years old, and who shook hands with each in a most friendly way.

The study where Darwin's works were written was next visited, and here the cosy old chair, the scientific instruments, the letter clips, and library, were fully scrutinised, some of the members thinking themselves highly honoured to have the chance of occupying for a moment the chair on which our illustrious countryman sat when compiling his great books

"The Origin of Species," and "The Descent of Man."

Not much time was now left to visit the gardens and grounds, and the favourite walks of Darwin, but that remaining was well made use of. Guided by Captain Darwin the lawn, with its pretty beds of flowers and neatly kept greensward, the fine old mulberry tree, the Venetian shumuch, Darwin's barberry - one of the largest we have ever seen - and houses of flowers with walls almost covered by the pretty ficus nepens, were fully inspected, and proved of great interest to the members.

The house is pleasantly situated its own grounds, from which, owing to its points of vantage, a good view of the surrounding country may be obtained. There are several coniferous trees of interest, including the Mammoth tree of California (Wellingtonia gigantea), cedars of various kinds, cypresses, the cut-leaved beech, and many others.

The shades of evening now lengthening to nightfall, the members, after thanking Mr. Darwin for his great kindness and welcome reception divided on their different ways, and so concluded what may well be noted as red letter day in the annals of the Bromley Naturalists' Society.


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

File last updated 12 July, 2020