Darwin spent more on food than books during college days

March 22nd, 2009 - 12:28 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 22 (ANI): Charles Darwins life during college days was quite different from what many would expect. He used to spend very little time studying or in lectures, preferring to shoot, ride and collect beetles, suggest newly discovered bills.

Historians have gained new insight into Darwins life as a college student after unearthing bills that record personal details of how he spent his money.

According to the bills, the revolutionary scientist happily paid others to carry out menial tasks for him, such as stoking his fire and polishing his shoes.

However, when it came to books, there is very little evidence to support the fact that he invested in textbooks, or that he did much else to further his studies.

The records were found in six previously overlooked college books, and are due to be published online on the Complete Works of Charles Darwin website (darwin-online.org.uk).

Darwin’’s time at Cambridge, from 1828 to 1831 is also one for which there is a comparative shortage of information.

In total, Darwin’’s college bills amounted to around 637 pounds over the three years, which did not include the 14 pounds he paid for his BA degree in 1831 or the 12 pounds he spent collecting his MA in 1836, following his return from the Beagle voyage.

The bills also show that in addition to the basic college dinner ration of a joint of meat and a glass of beer, he was prepared to spend money on fresh vegetables each day.

“Before this, we didn”t really know very much about Darwin’’s daily life at Cambridge at all,” The Guardian quoted Dr John van Wyhe, director of the Darwin website, as saying.

“It had been assumed that there were no significant traces of his time here left to discover, which meant that we were short of information about one of the most formative parts of his life.

“Now, in his 200th anniversary year, we have found a real treasure trove right in the middle of Cambridge, he said.

“How much he spent on alcohol, for example, or to have his horse stabled, we still don”t know,” added Van Wyhe, a science historian at the University of Cambridge and founder of the website. (ANI)

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