Darwin lived briefly on Sidney Street before moving into room G4 in the 16th Century buildings of first court, where he stayed until he graduated in 1831. Darwin would have had the privilege of being woken up and having breakfast brought to his room! He was also allowed to keep a dog, and apparently got away with using his shotgun to blow out candles. None of this is allowed any more…
For the first time since 1909 you can now visit Darwin’s room. As part of the 2009 celebrations the room has been painstakingly restored to how it would have been when Darwin lived there. The paint has been analysed, fabrics have been researched and pillows have been debated over. Every last inch, right down to the carpet has been considered and furniture has been acquired or borrowed to accurately represent Darwin’s student possessions. These included a Double-Barrelled percussion gun, his (actual) beetle cabinet, bird skins, insect sweeping nets, a microscope and Sappho, Darwin’s dog. Unfortunately Sappho has not survived.
The room is open to the public Wednesday and Thursday 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00, and Saturday 14.00-16.00. Private school visits can be arranged for Fridays via the librarian. The room will also be open on Bank Holidays: 10th and 13th April and 31st August from 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00. Check Christ’s College website for more information
Darwin In The Old Library
The college keeps two libraries, one for students' routine use and one, the Old Library, which houses 25,000 early printed books and manuscripts. The Old Library’s collections include priceless material related to Darwin, including letters exchanged between Charles and his cousin (and fellow beetle enthusiast) William Darwin Fox. The letters paint a vivid picture of just how much the pair avoided lectures and chapel in favour of riding on the Fens, playing cards and catching beetles. As part of the college’s Darwin celebration, the Old Library is holding a special Darwin 2009 exhibition to allow the public to see its Darwin collections
The Old Library is open at the same times as Darwin’s room.