The Erasmus Darwin Foundation was established in 1994 to create an international memorial to Erasmus Darwin in the elegant Georgian house beside Lichfield Cathedral where he lived for 25 years. The House has been established as a museum and is also used as a conference and wedding venue and for educational events.
The museum is funded through sponsorship, in particular from industries that have benefited from his inventions, to establish the House as a self-funding place of learning about the past and present understanding of medicine, science and technology.
The Foundation includes representatives of the Darwin family, The Royal Society, The Royal College of Physicians of London, The Royal Society of Medicine (History of Medicine Section), The Faculty of the History and Philosophy of Medicine and Pharmacy of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, The Dean and Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral and other local people. The Cathedral authorities have leased Darwin House to the Foundation.
In 2006 the Erasmus Darwin Foundation welcomed two new patrons, Steve Jones, a Professor of Genetics at University College London and well known TV personality Adam Hart-Davis who has been a staunch supporter of Erasmus Darwin for many years – even calling the great polymath his hero. For more information on Adam please visit his website http://www.adam-hart-davis.org . They join Christopher and Heather Darwin as Patrons who were all installed at the 250th anniversary celebrations in November 2006. See below for details about the 250th Anniversary Celebrations.
Artefacts and memorabilia associated with Erasmus Darwin have been donated or loaned to the Foundation.
If you would like to become involved in the work of Erasmus Darwin – join the Friends of Erasmus Darwin. There are currently about 80 members, and a team of volunteers who welcome visitors to Erasmus’ home.
The 250th Anniversary Celebrations
A very successful luncheon was held on Sunday 12th November 2006 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Erasmus Darwin’s arrival in Lichfield and was much enjoyed by all those who attended. Christopher Darwin dressed as his great, great, great, great, great uncle, rode in style in a horse-drawn carriage from Darwin House on Beacon Street and was welcomed at the Guildhall by the Mayor, attended by his deputy and the Sheriff.
Over one hundred people attended the celebration and enjoyed a three course meal after which Canon Tony Barnard proposed a toast to Erasmus Darwin. Christopher Darwin, in his persona as Erasmus, then responded to the toast and he and his wife Heather were then formally installed as patrons of Erasmus Darwin House. In their absence geneticist Professor Steve Jones and the popular TV personality Adam Hart-Davis were also installed as patrons. Professor Philip Wilson, Scholar in Residence, then followed with his reflections on the life of Erasmus Darwin.