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Darwin's home proposed as World Heritage Site

24 February 2006

Charles Darwin's home, Down House, and the surrounding area is being proposed as a World Heritage Site.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will assess the nomination, along with other international ones, and the final decisions will be made in the summer 2007. 

Charles Darwin © The Natural History Museum, London 2005

Charles Darwin

If the nomination bid is successful, Down House will gain the recognition given to Stonehenge and the City of Bath, as well international sites such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China.

Darwin at Downe

In 1842 Darwin and his family moved to Down House in Downe, Bromley. Here he carried out daily observations and experiments in the grounds and surrounding countryside.

Lesser stitchwort flower in the grounds of Down House

Lesser stitchwort flower in the grounds of Down House

During his studies, Darwin realised that evolution by natural selection was key to understanding the living worId and it was here, at Down House, that Darwin wrote The Origin of Species.

Theory of evolution

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is recognised as one of the most powerful and fundamentally important ideas in present day science and the unique legacy of Down House makes the area very special and significant in a global context.

Dr Johannes Vogel (left) and Darwin's Great Great Grandson Randal Keynes at Downe

Dr Johannes Vogel (left) and Darwin's Great Great Grandson Randal Keynes on wildflower survey at Downe, summer 2005.

'Charles Darwin is one of the world's most important scientists,' said the Natural History Museum's Keeper of Botany Dr Johannes Vogel. 'Many of his theories and ideas were supported by his meticulous observations and experiments on local wildlife at Downe.

'Darwin's power of thought and analysis is an inspiration to us all and we are proud to support this World Heritage Site bid to honour his legacy'.

'Darwin at Downe' project
The 'Darwin at Downe' project is run by the London Borough of Bromley in partnership with English Heritage, the Natural History Museum, English Nature, Charles Darwin Trust, Greater London Authority, London and Kent Wildlife Trusts, London Development Agency, ICOMOS and DCMS.