Our Collection

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!

studyThe museum has undergone two refurbishments since its opening in 1999 which have enabled us to better interpret the themes and display the objects. 18th-century furniture sits alongside traditional art and contemporary interactive exhibits. There are many stories to tell in this small house.

gamesOur 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

Wedgwood Queens Ware Tea Set

This cream coloured earthenware was called Queens Ware after Josiah’s first commission for Queen Charlotte in 1765. Wedgwood wanted to improve on the standard creamware that was being produced in the 1740’s and started experimenting, wanting to create something perfectly refined. It took him a long time to perfect the glaze as he wanted it to be ‘rich and brilliant’ but also able to withstand extreme temperatures as well as being cheap to buy.

Creamware became so popular and widely used that it became known as ‘Common Wedgwood’.

A more in depth background can be read on the Wedgwood Museums website.

On long term loan from the Wedgwood Museum, this set can be found on the table in the Parlour.