Saturday, 1 August 2009

Down house (Charles Darwin's home)

The other day we went to visit Down House near Orpington in Kent, where Charles Darwin made his family home. He was an avid nature-watcher and collector, and loved this quiet location in the Kent Downs. It was apparently 'relatively cheap' in its time, which meant he could concentrate on his work as a naturalist, rather than taking on another career. As I consider taking some time off to look after my little girls, I can really empathise with that philosophy.

Down House photos 009

I very rarely get 'house envy'. Yes it was a bigger house than mine, but you can only really experience one room at any one time, so I never feel particularly envious of more space.

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Nor garden envy. My small patch of earth on the allotment gives me all the growing space I need, and the small garden at the back of our house is plenty for us to maintain.

Down House photos 015

Having said all this, I have to admit getting greenhouse envy at this place. It was one of those fabulous Victorian lean-to greenhouses, part brick, part wood. Painted the most gorgeous turquoise blue colour. I wonder whether the colour was a twentieth century development, or whether this was the view that Darwin had as he pondered the origins of life on earth.

Down House photos 008

Either way, it has stuck in my mind as something that one day I would like to imitate.

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And actually, even a turquoise cold frame would probably satisfy me.

By the way, I am in the running for the dorset cereals blog awards.

There are lots of other great blogs on there to look at, so it is worth a browse, and you can vote for your favourite.


  1. Wow, that greenhouse is ace! With you on the envy!
    Congrats getting nominated!
    Clare x

  2. Thank you - it's really exciting to be on there.x

  3. Great post - looks a super place to go - oh and think yourself voted for by me!