What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
THE HOME OF DARWIN
=How to get there.=–Train from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, or London Bridge. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Orpington (3-1/2 to 4 miles from Downe). =Distance from London.=–13-3/4 miles. =Average Time.=–35 minutes.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 2s. 4d. 1s. 6d. 1s. 2-1/2d. Return 4s. 0d. 3s. 0d. ...
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Queen’s Head,” at Downe, facing the church. Hotels at Farnborough–"White Lion,” “George and Dragon.”
The home of the great scientist is still standing in the little village of Downe in Kent. The road to the hamlet is through Farnborough, and the walk takes an hour. Downe is a pleasant place, possessing a large village pond and a small church with a shingled spire. Darwin’s home, known as Downe House, was built in the eighteenth century. Its front is of white stucco, relieved by ivy and other creepers. The wing on the west side of the house was added by Darwin shortly after he came to live there. This new portion of the house was used partly to accommodate his library. On the north side is the room used by Darwin as a study, in which he wrote some of his most important works. The garden of the house is sheltered and reposeful, and from the old wall-garden to the south there is a beautiful view over the delightful stretch of country in the direction of Westerham.
The life led by Darwin when at Downe was exceedingly quiet and regular, for he always went to bed at an early hour, and rising at six was enabled to get in a walk and breakfast before commencing work at eight o’clock. At some other time of the day he would manage to get an opportunity for another walk, and part of the evening would be given up to his family and friends who were privileged to enjoy conversation with the great author of The Origin of Species. Professor Haeckel, describing a visit to Darwin’s home, says, “There stepped out to meet me from the shady porch ... the great naturalist himself, a tall and venerable figure, with the broad shoulders of an Atlas supporting a world of thought, his Jupiter-like forehead, highly and broadly arched ... and deeply furrowed with the plough of mental labour; his kindly, mild eyes looking forth under the shadow of prominent brows.”
[Illustration: DOWNE HOUSE AT DOWNE, KENT.
The Home of Charles Darwin.]