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The origin of Darwin’s wardrobe

We met up with English Heritage at about the same that they were in the latter stages of planning the restoration of Charles Darwin’s bedroom at Down House. The house is in the pretty village of Downe in Kent and Charles and Emma Darwin moved there in 1842. They stayed there for 40 years until Darwin’s death, during which time, On the Origin of Species was published in 1859.
While Darwin’s atmospheric study and family rooms downstairs had been restored to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2009, it wasn’t until this summer that his and Emma’s bedroom was re-created. We were delighted to help by making a bespoke open-fronted wardrobe for the dressing room. English Heritage then came to our workshops to film the wardrobe being made as part of their film about the bedroom restoration. See the film here

Down House in Kent
Down House in Kent
Charles and Emma Darwin's bedroom with its specially commissioned block-printed wallpaper and carpet
T&G's mahogany wardrobe for the dressing (now dressing-up) room
T&G's mahogany wardrobe for the dressing (now dressing-up) room
The bedroom being dressed ready for its launch this summer
The view from the bedroom

Darwin, it is known, spent much time in his bedroom as he suffered from debilitating illness that would confine him to his room for weeks at a time, reading such books as Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the Looking Glass.
The Darwins redecorated the bedroom in 1858 and English Heritage has recreated it from an inventory. We took our wardrobe there on moving-in day.

Our wardrobe arriving at Down House, having made its way to the dressing room
Our wardrobe arriving at Down House, having made its way to the dressing room
The bedroom being dressed ready for its launch this summer
The bedroom being dressed ready for its launch this summer

We took some time to have a look around the downstairs of Down House too.

The drawing room with its blue sofa, chaise longue and grand piano
A book case in the hall
The Darwin dining room
The Darwin dining room
Darwin's study with its various objects relating to his work
A trug and a pair of boots sit in the hall
A trug and a pair of boots sit in the hall

And then, we had a quick look around the garden before heading back to Ipswich.

The garden at Down House
The garden at Down House
And by the exit...
And by the exit...
The entrance of Down House
The entrance of Down House

Down House in Kent is open every day in October from 10am-5pm. In November and December, Down House is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-4pm. For more information, click here.
To see the English Heritage film about the restoration, click here.