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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hensleigh Wedgwood   [13–19 March 1859]1

Oxford & Cambridge Club

My dear Charles

I don’t know whether you admit those showers of fishes as an undoubted fact, but I ascertained that this was certainly the case with the one mentioned in the Times last week.2 The fishes fell in a violent shower of rain in the yard of our colliery over a space of about 100 yards long by 14 or 15 broad3 A large proportion fell on the roof of our engineers shed about 25 high in the ridge Others in a puddle in the yard which is dry in dry weather & these were living & were gathered by several of the people. The overlooker had a lot of them in a goldfish jar which were minnows & stickleback

The birds were busy with those that fell on the roof which of course were killed

A story loses nothing by telling & a lady on the train told us she understood they were forced to sweep them away with besoms.

Affecty yours | H Wedgwood


The date is that of the week following the report in The Times mentioned in the letter (see n. 2, below).
A fall of fishes was described in a letter to The Times, 10 March 1859, p. 7. The letter reported that the event had taken place on 9 February 1859 at the village of Mountain Ash in Glamorganshire.
Mountain Ash is located in the great coalfield of South Wales. The Wedgwood China Company owned a colliery in nearby Llanhilleth, which was connected by railway to a branch of the Monmouthshire canal in which the Wedgwood family were prominent investors (see Hadfield 1967, pp. 127, 131).


HW has confirmed the report in the Times of a shower of fish (minnows and sticklebacks) that fell on the Wedgwood colliery.

Letter details

Letter no.
Wedgwood, Hensleigh
Darwin, C. R.
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 205.2: 262
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13854,” accessed on 19 January 2017,