Have you ever wasted time? You have offended him.

"A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Theory of Evolution. ‘On the Origin of Species.’ Ring a bell yet? Well if not, I’ll just tell you. Sir Charles Darwin, the man who thought about how we, the human species, the homo sapiens came to live. In a nutshell, he was the genius who believed that all living creatures have the same ancestors, but we just changed differently through each generation.

However, I am not here today to tell you endless facts about science, but to give you insight on his personal life. The renowned English naturalist Charles Darwin moved into Down House in the year 1842 and continued to live in the elegant Georgian manor for 40 years until his death in 1882. Down House is situated in the Bromley Borough of Kent (BR6 7JT). It was in this stately mansion with its lush and huge gardens where Darwin wrote his famous book. This English Heritage protected site has arranged an exhibition upstairs which explains in vivid detail about his family, his voyage on the HMS Beagle and his life after he wrote his books.

This 2-storey stately home includes spacious servants’ quarters and a basement. There is a hand-held, in-depth audio tour of the ground floor of the mansion given by Sir David Attenborough who clearly describes each aspect of every room, whether it be the paintings or even the décor.

The spacious bedrooms on the top floor, in which one is modelled as one from their time clearly portrays how exactly luxurious their day-to-day living conditions were. The once children’s nursery now has a family tree of the Darwin’s and another wall provides detailed descriptions of Charles and Emma’s children. Interestingly, the place where Charles’ son William carved his name into a cupboard is still carefully preserved and is in fact amusing to visitors. In the recreated bedrooms upstairs, there are wardrobes with clothes from the Victorian Era so that visitors can dress up as Charles and Emma, lie in their bed and on their sofas looking out of the window, imagining. The velvet coats and black top hats can be worn by adults and children alike.

Charles’ private study downstairs is a place where time stands still. On his worktable there is an array of books, specimens, tools and more. Maps and painting and cupboards full of all his finding hide all the walls in the room. In a corner is a bath and wardrobe for times when he was too intensely focused with his work to bother going upstairs. The Darwin family’s dining room is pretty much fit for royalty. With the table set with enough cutlery for a full 7 course meal and the floor covered in a plush red carpet. There are paintings of people important to the Darwin’s on every wall and there are huge windows facing the lovely gardens, treating dinner guests to a spectacular view. The drawing room contains many bookcases with Darwin’s favourite classics such as ‘The Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens. The pool table is a replica of one assumed to be what Darwin had.

He often took long inspiring walks along the sandy path at the bottom of the garden with his dog, deeply in thought about his ideas. The extensive kitchen gardens are quite a sight to see. The tour of the gardens is very pleasant on clear, sunny days.

It appears as though Darwin and his family still live there because of the tennis racquets in the cupboard under the stairs and his wife Emma’s knitting half-done lying on a chair in the drawing room. We must not forget the breath-taking open-air laboratory Charles Darwin used to keep his specimens and test out his theories among his many other experiences.

Therefore, if you live in the Bromley Borough of Greater London, then it is appalling that you haven’t yet visited this key moment in the world’s history. Even though this might seem boring to all you museum-haters out there, I can personally vouch that you will be enthralled by its vintage uniqueness. Whether it be the paintings that attract you or the giftshop, I can guarantee that it’ll be a fun and memory-filled experience, no matter what age you are.

-Sanchana Hiththatiyage