Day 3 in London

Our day began with another Darwin and Dickens forum in Russell Square.   The weather was just perfect and we all enjoyed the sunshine.

Erica and Maegan hope to not be bumped with one of Dr. Firenze’s crutches.

Erica, Brandon, Sara and Maegan in Russell Square.

Another beautiful morning in Russell Square.

Maegan and Lisa in Russell Square.

Dr. Firenze led a discussion distinguishing Darwin the man from the concept of Darwinism.  We defined natural selection as the process during which organisms best suited for the environment, thrive, reproduce and pass on their genetic traits.  We also talked about how evolution is the unifying theory that explains the diversity of life on the planet.

After our forum it was time to head to the tube for the first leg of our journey to Down House, Charles Darwin’s home in the village of Downe.

The students enjoyed their first view of Victoria Station where we caught the train to South Bromley on the way to Downe.

Victoria Station.

Another view of Victoria Station.

Once we arrived in South Bromley, we were able to immediately catch the bus to Downe because of excellent planning on the part of Drs. Firenze, Musa and Saraceno.

The bus to Downe!

Upon arriving in Downe we began the quarter mile walk to Down House.  The road was very narrow and we were all a little worried about the amount of space taken up by Dr. Firenze and his crutches.

A view of Down House.

Arriving at Down House.

Megan, Sara and Erica enjoy the sunshine outside of Down House.

The gardens at Down House.


Dr. Firenze spent some time talking to us about Charles Darwin’s life at Down House.

Jo and Erica take some notes.

Dr. Firenze read from Darwin’s autobiography and closed with a quote from the London Times, April 22, 1882.

Below are some photos from the gardens and greenhouses at Down House.

Erica, Megan and Caroline.

Dr. Saraceno tries to find a quiet moment so that he can apologize for the men on horses that chased and caught Dr. Firenze the night before.

The students check our Charles Darwin’s greenhouse.

Some carniverous plants in the greenhouse.

Caroline on the Sand Walk.

Caroline, Margo and Dr. Firenze on Darwin’s Sand Walk.

After touring the grounds, the students explored Charles Darwin’s home.  Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed.

We headed back to Downe to cath the bus back to South Bromley.  We spent some time looking at St. Mary the Virgin Church, built in 1290.  Charles Darwin’s wife and brother are buried here.

After the bus, the train and the tube (at rush hour), we met Dr. David Tucker in Trafalgar Square for our second London walk.

The students pose in Trafalgar Square.

A statue of George Washington with a pigeon on his head.

The fountain in Trafalgar Square.

David led us thorugh London and told us about what the streets (like The Strand, above) would have looked like during Victorian times.  We all thought about what it must have been like for Charles Dickens when he lived and worked in this area as a boy.

We crossed over the Thames on the Golden Jubilee (Hungerford) bridge and had a great glimpse of Big Ben!

A view of the North shore.


Parliament and Big Ben.

Dr. Tucker took us to see some original Victorian homes built in 1825.

Without the cars and T.V. antennas these homes look very much like the London of Charles Dickens’ time.

We finished with a view of all the chimneys which in Victorian times poured black clouds of coal smoke into the London sky.

It was a great day filled with new insights into the life and times of Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens. One unexpected discovery for us all came during the tour through Darwin’s home.  We all know that Dr. Firenze has immeasurable respect for Charles Darwin, but none of us realized how close they actually were.

As you can see in this rare photograph, Dr. Firenze’s association with Charles Darwin extends farther back than any of us ever imagined.

Up tomorrow: A tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a private tour of Charles Dickens’ home and a very special BCC graduation – London style.




~ by Dr. Musa on May 22, 2008.

One Response to “Day 3 in London”

  1. I didn’t realize Charles Darwin and Dr. Firenze had bonded so closely. Nor did I know Dr. Firenze wore a kilt – with beads no less.

    My compliments to Brandon for his excellent taste in shirts. A sure sign of a man with superior intelligence. Plus, it comforts me greatly knowing Dr. Saraceno has a relable companion in fulfilling his daily Vitamin G requirement which can only be gained by consuming the juice of the barley. Gentlemen, Slainte!

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