The Cambridge & District Blue Plaques Scheme is run by local charity Cambridge Past Present & Future. However sometimes blue plaques are put up by other organisations that are not part of this official scheme. You can easily tell because the blue plaque won't have the crest of either the City Council or South Cambridge District Council. Whilst we are not responsible for these plaques we felt it might be helpful for people to be aware of them. The blue plaque for Charles Darwin is one of these.

Charles Darwin was a British naturalist, geologist and biologist who is best-known for his theory of natural selection.

Two plaques in Cambridge commemorate the time Charles Darwin spent in the city:

One is above Boots on Sydney Street, there was once a building here where he lodged during 1828 while an undergraduate of Christ’s College,

This one is at 22 Fitzwilliam Street, where he stayed in 1836.

After completing his degree in 1831 Darwin took the position as a naturalist on the five year voyage of HMS Beagle, undertaking a scientific survey of South American waters, the Galápagos Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia, returning via Cape Town and St Helena and Ascension.

The voyage proved to be the turning point in Darwin’s life, and after returning to England in October 1836, he began to pursue his career as a scientist. He returned to Cambridge for several months to sort out the specimens from his voyage, lodging in Fitzwilliam Street before moving to London, where he married his cousin Emma Wedgwood in 1839.

During his time in London, Darwin began formulating his early evolutionary theories. Following a move to Kent in 1842 he developed his work on natural selection, publishing ‘On the Origin of Species’ in 1859, and ‘The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex’ in 1871.

Darwin’s rooms in Christ’s College were made into an exhibition space. The Cambridge University Library holds many of his documents, including letters, and Cambridge University Press has published much about Darwin, including the correspondence series. In his autobiography in 1876 he wrote, ‘Upon the whole, the three years which I spent at Cambridge were the most joyful in my life.’  Darwin was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) from the University of Cambridge on 17 November 1877.  He died on 19 April 1882 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.