By Chelsea Cull
Darwin’s revelations and writing have outlived him in such a way that he is a household name. While not all agree with his theories, the thought, research and scientific knowledge put into them is unquestionable. However, one of the lesser known aspects of Darwin’s life is the way he suffered between keeping his religious father happy and battling with his own questioning of faith while following a scientific route.
Charles Darwin attended a Church of England school with the views of following his father’s wishes and becoming a Clergyman. He later attended Cambridge University, where he developed a fondness for natural history and theology.
But it was during his voyage on HMS Beagle from 1831 to 1836 that Darwin further explored and developed the ideas that led to his Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.
During the voyage of the Beagle – where he was offered a position of naturalist by John Henslow and Adam Sedgwick – he stayed orthodox in his views and originally set out looking for ‘centres of creation’ to explain why species were the way they were and why they were distributed in certain ways. However, it soon became clear to him that the underlying reason was leading him more towards scientific answers than religious.
So while the voyage of the Beagle was invaluable to science in allowing Darwin to explore his ideas surrounding evolution, it was also important for his personal development. He began to question his own beliefs, against the advice of his father, and found himself confused and often a little lost regarding his faith.
This year at the Literature Festival we are welcoming Professor James Moore, a noted Darwin scholar and biographer, who has contributed to the Radio 4 series Darwin, amongst other things. He will be giving a short talk on Darwin and his journey.
The event also promises to bring to life the story of the voyage of HMS Beagle from Plymouth and across the Southern Hemisphere to life, as the Andrew Mitchell Collective explore Darwin’s travels through sea shanties and dance.
It promises to be a lively family event and one not to be missed!
Running parallel with the event is an exhibition – Darwin and the Voyage of HMS Beagle – which will be available to view during gallery hours from 3 – 10 March.
Darwin and the Voyage of HMS Beagle
Sunday 9th March, 2.30-3.30pm
£2 (£1 conc)
Packhorse Gallery, Packhorse Centre, Huddersfield
Chelsea Cull is a member of the HLF2014 student committee and a student at the University of Huddersfield