Catalogue number: WP4/4/5
Architectural drawing of the ground plan of Wallace's house, Old Orchard at Broadstone in Dorset, dated October 1901.
This architectural plan is drawn on squared paper. At the top there is the title 'Rough Ground-Plan of House proposed to be built by A.R.Wallace Esq. F.R.S.' This was written, along with instructions on materials to use, then signed and dated by Wallace, suggesting that the plan was drawn by Wallace himself.
The walls were to be red brick, the roof tiled and the inside walls were not to be plastered, but panelled instead. The plan includes a veranda in front of the bedroom and study, a large dining hall, drawing rooms with bay windows, a spare bedroom, a work room, a kitchen, an area for coals, a scullery and even an inside WC.
Not only was Wallace a great naturalist, he also had superb draughtsman skills. Since Wallace was noted for his attention to detail and high standards, it is not surprising that he would draw up his own plans to build his houses.
Wallace purchased the land to build this house on a site previously used as an orchard. He describes his excitement about the purchase and gives details of the beautiful countryside in a letter to his daughter Violet. Wallace supervised the building work and transplanted flowers from his beloved garden at Corfe View. By the end of 1902 he and his wife Annie had moved in. Wallace was almost 80 years old and still had immense enthusiasm for his new house and garden.
Wallace tended his garden at Old Orchard and continued to write, focusing on his two-volume autobiography, My Life (1905).
For enquiries about the Wallace Collection please email the library
View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.