Recovered property

Bromley Times: Security review at historic house

An irreplaceable first edition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species will be kept under lock and key after its return to the scientist's former home.

The national treasure was recovered by police in August, following its theft from Down House, Luxted Road, Downe, in 2004. However, it will not go back on display for at least six months while security at the English Heritage site is reviewed.

A spokesman said: "We will be changing the room around to increase security next year and we may exhibit it then."

The book in question was presented by Charles Darwin to his great friend, Sir Charles Lyell, whose Principles of Geology was a constant source of inspiration to Darwin during the Beagle voyage. Although Lyell never fully accepted Darwin's Theory of Evolution by means of Natural Selection, he was a constant supporter of Darwin, and urged him to publish his theory. Lyell was one of the three great inspirational figures whose photographs hung on Darwin's study wall at Down House.

The two great scientists are buried a couple of feet from each other in Westminster Abbey.

The man convicted of stealing Lyell's first edition of Origin of Species, Amir Ladak, was caught thanks to fingerprints obtained from an attempted theft at Sotheby's. Darwin's cousin, Sir Francis Galton, an early pioneer of fingerprint evidence, would have been delighted. Ladak's sentence: 100 hours of community service and a £3,000.

I'd have thrown away the key.

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *