Looking at carnivorous plants in the greenhouse
Looking at carnivorous plants in the greenhouse
Lunch
Lunch
The Darwin children
The Darwin children

Home of Charles Darwin- Down House, Kent

You can comment on this article, add your comment now

Kids in Museums volunteer Kim Biddulph took her six-year-old daughter to Down House, the home of Charles Darwin from 1842 to 1882, after he got back from his famous Beagle voyage. It’s where he brought up his own large family and continued his experiments and observations, and wrote his famous book, On the Origin of Species.

I’m quite a Darwin fan so my daughter had already heard about him, read picture books about him and seen his statues in various natural history museums before coming to his house, so she was actually really excited and woke up early the day she knew we were going. She wanted to know all the details about his wife, his family, and what his house was like.

The house is in the little village of Downe near Biggin Hill on the North Downs, and is signposted from the A233, or there are buses from Orpington Rail Station that stop right outside the house. It feels like a very remote part of the world, yet it’s inside the M25. Of course, in Darwin’s day it was quite remote and that’s how he liked it.

We started in the gardens, as it was a nice day. There were folk with audioguides voiced by David Attenborough about the weed plot, the wormstone, the carnivorous and climbing plants in the greenhouse and the bees, but we just explored by ourselves. We loved identifying the vegetables growing in the garden, many of which are served in the cafe, and we took a short stroll along the Sand Walk or Thinking Path that Darwin used to pace when dealing with a tricky problem in his work. Sadly we couldn’t go all the way round as there was a tree with root rot that needed to be seen to. By that time, though, the tricky problem that had become clear to us was the need to fill our tummies.

We headed to the cafe, which is set in the old kitchen and my daughter wolfed down the children’s lunch box, which was very generous with a sandwich, raisins, crisps, a drink and a treat for £4.25.

After lunch we explored the house, from the dining room set out with a Wedgwood service (Darwin’s wife was a Wedgwood), to the study with the little wash area for Darwin to freshen up after being ill so he could get back to work. Many of Darwin’s books are in a glass-fronted cabinet and the first one my daughter noticed, strangely, was Das Kapital, specifically a copy presented to Darwin by Karl Marx himself.

Upstairs are displays about Darwin and his work, and my daughter loved the Pepper’s Ghost of a young Darwin in his cabin on the Beagle. She was told by a friendly volunteer to look under the table as he doesn’t have any legs. Charles and Emma’s bedroom has been refurbished for this year, and has some very high quality dressing up clothes in their dressing room. Annoyingly, my daughter wouldn’t try them on and pose for the camera.

The nursery was where the children played and were taught lessons, and my daughter loved looking at their toys, finding the graffiti that William, one of the sons, had scratched in the cupboard but most of all looking at their photos. It was difficult for my daughter, at six, to learn that the scarlet fever that she had survived was what had killed one of Darwin’s children (the youngest, also called Charles), and to see Annie Darwin’s box that her father kept to remind him of her after her death at the age of ten.

Her verdict was that it was a lovely house and would be just fine for us, especially our cat, once the museum had moved out!

Down House is open every day and entry is £11.10 for adults and £6.70 for children aged 5-15. A family ticket for two adults and up to three children is £28.90, but members of English Heritage go free. There are events on from Tuesdays to Saturdays over the summer. For more information: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/home-of-charles-darwin-down-house/events.

 

Leave a Reply

Please help us reduce spam!

Register Your Event

Full name of Organisation
Organisation Address
Type of Museum
Other (please specify)
How is your organisation funded?
Other (please specify)
Is your Education/Learning Department solely run by volunteers?
Are you signed up to the Kids in Museums Manifesto?
Want to know more about the manifesto?Click here
Arts Council region
Are you an Accredited Museum?
Contact Name and Role
Contact Email
Contact Number
Twitter ID
Facebook Profile
Please tell us about any plans you have so far for Takeover Day
Will your Takeover Day be public facing? (will the public be able to see and take part in the action?)
Number of Participants
Age of Participants
Other (please specify)
Type of Group
Other (please specify)
Will you be working in partnership with another cultural or heritage organisation?
If yes, please specify the name(s) of organisations
Does your Takeover Day link up with any of the following themes or initiatives?
ArtsawardDisability or accessHeritage Lottery Funding – Young RootsWorking with a Youth PanelWorld War 1 Centenary
Date of Event
I would like Kids in Museums to keep me updated about future events and projects.
Yes, please add me to the mailing listNo, don't add me to the mailing list

The information provided in this form will be securely stored by Kids in Museums. We will use it to inform you about other Kids in Museums activities, projects and services and to report to our funders. Your data will not be sold or shared with third parties. If you would like to be removed for our mailing list at any point, please contact [email protected]

×
Register Your Event
Full name of Organisation:
Organisation Address:
Contact Name and Role:
Contact Email:
Contact Number:
Twitter ID:
Facebook Profile:
Please tell us about any plans you have so far for Takeover Day Scotland:
Number of Participants:
Age of Participants:
Type of Group:
e.g. school, youth group, Scouts
Date of Event (if not on Takeover Day Scotland)
×
Register Your Event

Full name of Organisation
Organisation Address
Type of Organisation
Other (please specify)
How is your organisation funded?
Other (please specify)
Are you signed up to the Kids in Museums Manifesto?
Want to know more about the manifesto? Click here
Contact Name and Role
Contact Email
Contact Number
Twitter ID
Facebook Profile
Please tell us about any plans you have so far for Takeover Day
Will your Takeover Day be public facing? (will the public be able to see and take part in the action?)
Are the young participants you are working with fluent Welsh speakers?
Number of Participants
Age of Participants
Other (please specify)
Type of Group
Other (please specify)
Will you be working in partnership with another cultural or heritage organisation?
If yes, please specify the name(s) of organisations
Does your Takeover Day link up with any of these themes or initiatives?
Arts AwardDigital Heritage StationsDisabled/SEN groupsHeritage Lottery Funding – Young RootsUniformed Groups - Brownies / Guides / Scouts / Cubs / BeaversWelsh BaccalaureateWorking with a Youth PanelWorld War 1 Centenary
Date of Event
I would like Kids in Museums to keep me updated about future events and projects.
Yes, please add me to the mailing listNo, don't add me to the mailing list

The information provided in this form will be securely stored by Kids in Museums. We will use it to inform you about other Kids in Museums activities, projects and services and to report to our funders. Your data will not be sold or shared with third parties. If you would like to be removed for our mailing list at any point, please contact [email protected]

×
Register Your Event

Enw llawn y Sefydliad
Cyfeiriad y Sefydliad
Math o Sefydliad
Arall (rhowch y manylion)
Sut mae eich sefydliad yn cael ei ariannu?
Arall (rhowch y manylion)
Ydych chi wedi cofrestru ar gyfer Maniffesto Kids in Museums? Hoffech chi wybod rhagor am y maniffesto? Cliciwch yma
Enw Cyswllt a Rôl
Ebost Cysylltu
Rhif Cysylltu
ID Twitter
Proffil Facebook
Dywedwch wrthym am unrhyw gynlluniau sydd gennych hyd yma ar gyfer y Diwrnod Meddiannu
A fyddwch yn wynebu’r cyhoedd ar eich Diwrnod Meddiannu? (hynny yw, a fydd y cyhoedd yn gallu gweld a chymryd rhan yn y gweithredu?)
A fydd eich Diwrnod Meddiannu’n cynnwys defnyddio’r Gymraeg?
Nifer y Cyfranogwyr
Oed y Cyfranogwyr
Arall (rhowch fanylion)
Math o Grŵp
Arall (rhowch fanylion)
A fyddwch chi’n gweithio mewn partneriaeth â sefydliad diwylliannol neu dreftadaeth arall?
Os bydd, nodwch enw(au) y sefydliadau os gwelwch yn dda
Ydy eich Diwrnod Meddiannu’n cysylltu gydag unrhyw rai o’r themâu neu fentrau nesaf yma?
Bagloriaeth CymruDyfarniad yn y CelfyddydauAnabledd neu fynediadAriannu’r Loteri Treftadaeth – Gwreiddiau IfancGorsaf Treftadaeth DdigidolGweithio gyda Phanel IeuenctidCanmlwyddiant y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf
Dyddiad y Digwyddiad

×
Order your free resources

Name*


Organisation*


Email address*
Address resources should be sent to*
Number of packs
Type of pack
Number of Posters for your venue
Any Other Comments

×
Order your free resources
Name*
Organisation*
Email address*
Address resources should be sent to*
Number of packs
Number of Posters for your venue
Any Other Comments
×
Order your free resources

Name / Enw*
Organisation / Sefydliad*
Email address / Ebost*
Address resources should be sent to / Y cyfeiriad lle dylid anfon yr adnoddau*
Number of packs / Nifer y pecynnau
Type of pack / Y math o becyn
Number of Posters for your venue / Nifer y posteri i’ch safle
Any Other Comments / Unrhyw sylwadau eraill

×
Archebwch eich adnoddau rhad ac am ddim yma

Name / Enw*
Organisation / Sefydliad*
Email address / Ebost*
Address resources should be sent to / Y cyfeiriad lle dylid anfon yr adnoddau*
Number of packs / Nifer y pecynnau
Type of pack / Y math o becyn
Number of Posters for your venue / Nifer y posteri i’ch safle
Any Other Comments / Unrhyw sylwadau eraill

×