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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. H. Darwin   21 November [1877]1


Nov. 21.—

My dear G.—

Please find out when Cloisters in Neville Court are swept & examine just before the time so as to see whether any connection between sagging of pavemts & castings— I suppose not.— If castings any measure how far within roof of cloisters.—2

I enjoyed my stay at Cambridge to a very unusual degree,—owing chiefly to you good boys.— If Cambridge newspaper publishes full account of L.L.D. do send us a copy.3 I shd like any news about the proposed memorial.—4

We will let you know if Galton comes on Sunday, but I do not suppose you will desert the interior of the earth.5

Your affect Father | C. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to CD’s honorary LLD degree, which was presented to him on 17 November 1877 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
CD made no reference to Nevile’s Court, Trinity College, Cambridge, in his discussions of worm-castings in Earthworms.
There is a copy of a report on the presentation of an honorary LLD to CD from the Cambridge Chronicle, 24 November 1877, p. 4, in DAR 215: 30c.
In DAR 215: 31b, there is a report of a meeting in Cambridge on 25 November 1877, at which it was resolved to form a committee to collect subscriptions for a memorial, which was to take the form of a portrait of CD. The portrait of CD in his red LLD robes was painted by William Blake Richmond in June 1879 (Browne 2002, p. 451), and is now at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge (ODNB s.v. Richmond, William Blake).
According to Emma Darwin’s diary, Francis Galton visited Down on Saturday 24 November 1877; she did not mention George’s coming that weekend. George was working on the state of the interior of the earth; see G. H. Darwin 1878, and letter from G. H. Darwin, [28 October 1877].


Browne, Janet. 2002. Charles Darwin. The power of place. Volume II of a biography. London: Pimlico.

Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Asks GHD to determine whether there are worm-castings in cloisters of [Neville?] Court.

Enjoyed his visit to Cambridge. Asks for newspaper account of the LL.D.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 64
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11246,” accessed on 2 October 2023,