Shropshire History

Charles Darwin


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1809 – Born at The Mount, Shrewsbury, son of a wealthy doctor and financier Robert Darwin. His mother Susannah was the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood.


1817 - Darwin joined a day school at the local Unitarian chapel and in September his mother died.


1818 –Darwin went to Shrewsbury School as a boarder.


1825 – He went to the University of Edinburgh Medical School but found lectures dull and surgery distressing, so neglected his studies. He learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave.


1828 – Having neglected his medical studies, he  was sent to Christ's College in Cambridge for a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a view to becoming an Anglican parson. Darwin preferred riding and shooting to studying but his cousin introduced him to beetle collecting.


1831 - Darwin obtained his degree, coming 10th out of 178 candidates. In December, he sailed aboard HMS Beagle on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America. Over the next 5 years the ship travelled down the east coast of South America and then across the pacific, calling in at the Galapagos islands.


1836 – In October, HMS Beagle returned to Britain. Darwin was already famous in scientific circles as a result of reports he had sent home. He went to live in Cambridge, where he began to organise his collections and rewrite his Journal.


1837 - Elected to the Council of the Geological Society and went to live in London.


1838 – Elected Secretary of the Geological Society.


1839 - Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and married his cousin Emma Wedgwood.


1842 - Darwin's book “The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs” was published.



1859 – Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species” was published.


1882 – He was diagnosed with coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart and died of a heart attack in April. He was buried at Westminster Abbey.