Erasmus Darwin House holds a number of objects which belonged to Erasmus and his family, which are on loan from organisations such as Lichfield City Council, Stoke on Trent Potteries Museum, Holburne Museum and English Heritage. His work covered a variety of subjects, from science and inventions to medicine and the education of women, and the collections reflect this, covering topics such as these and more!
Our most prized object is Darwin’s Common Place Book which gives us great insight into the mind of this amazing man. It is a large notebook on loan from English Heritage which contains Darwin’s own notes on his medical cases, his thoughts on such things as meteorology and botany, and some fantastic drawings of his inventions. A group of volunteers have recently completed a demanding project to transcribe the book for our visitors.
‘It was a privilege to transcribe Darwin’s original hand written notes… it felt like he was in the room and speaking the words!
A copy can now be found on the lectern in the Inventions Room which compares Darwin’s original page to a translated page, so now we can better understand his passion for medicine and engineering!
You will also find the Common Place Book as part of the British Museums Teaching History in 100 Objects project which provides resources for teachers who want to use museum objects as a way to interpret history.
Object of the month
Daniel Quare Grandfather Clock
This beautiful, working longcase clock is on long term loan from the Holburne Museum, Bath, bequeathed to them by Sir Hector Duff in 1954. It was made of oak and veneered with walnut and marquetry of various woods by Daniel Quare of London around 1685. It is 209cm tall and is an impressive figure in our Parlour. With a weekly wind up it functions wonderfully, chiming every hour.
Daniel Quare was one of the most celebrated clockmakers of the 17th and 18th centuries with examples of his clocks being found in museums around the world.