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Darwin Correspondence Project

From O. A. Ainslie   23 November 1880

48— Lincolns Inn Fields—

Novr. 23d 1880—


My ⁠⟨⁠de⁠⟩⁠ar Dr Darwin

I observe with s⁠⟨⁠ome⁠⟩⁠ regret, that a relative of Mrs Darwin, has passed ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠way—1 I suppose, that she was the recent proprietor of Tromer Lodge—formerly called Pond House— My lamented Father—the Revd. Robert Ainslie—visited Down, & had ⁠⟨⁠an in⁠⟩⁠terview with Miss Wed⁠⟨⁠g⁠⟩⁠wood—when he was re⁠⟨⁠ctor⁠⟩⁠ at Roundhill Crescen⁠⟨⁠t,⁠⟩⁠ Brighton—& some few years or so—2 I b⁠⟨⁠elieve⁠⟩⁠—befo⁠⟨⁠re⁠⟩⁠ his illness—which ultimately obliged him to give up his p⁠⟨⁠   ⁠⟩⁠ work— Now, I u⁠⟨⁠ndersto⁠⟩⁠od then, & have a⁠⟨⁠lwa⁠⟩⁠ys understood, that ⁠⟨⁠the⁠⟩⁠ transfer of Tro⁠⟨⁠m⁠⟩⁠er Lodge to the Purchasers, was in opposition to a higher offer, which was made at the Auction Mart— This of co⁠⟨⁠u⁠⟩⁠rse rests as it is— My Father had not funds to appeal. ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ there were some ⁠⟨⁠p⁠⟩⁠ieces of Basso Relievo ⁠⟨⁠le⁠⟩⁠ft in the Drawing ⁠⟨⁠Ro⁠⟩⁠om & I suppose still the⁠⟨⁠re⁠⟩⁠, which he laid a ⁠⟨⁠cla⁠⟩⁠im to on the occasion of his visit ⁠⟨⁠to⁠⟩⁠ Miss Wedgewood.

If one of his creditors, who was the principal, who led him into his ⁠⟨⁠dif⁠⟩⁠ficulties, which he so nob⁠⟨⁠ly con⁠⟩⁠tended with, had ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ a few years ea⁠⟨⁠rlier⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠tle and I would ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ have ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ our fa⁠⟨⁠ther’s⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠ ⁠⟩⁠me” ⁠⟨⁠h⁠⟩⁠ouse.”— He die⁠⟨⁠d,⁠⟩⁠ I c⁠⟨⁠onsider, a victim to ⁠⟨⁠his⁠⟩⁠ generosity, & the negl⁠⟨⁠ect⁠⟩⁠ of th⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠ Public to a ⁠⟨⁠   ⁠⟩⁠ Man—who if he had n⁠⟨⁠ot⁠⟩⁠ had a considerable ⁠⟨⁠pri⁠⟩⁠vate property woul⁠⟨⁠d⁠⟩⁠ not have died so ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ as he did— ⁠⟨⁠2 or 3 words⁠⟩⁠ in writing ⁠⟨⁠2 or 3 words⁠⟩⁠ whom I we⁠⟨⁠ll⁠⟩⁠ remember, as a Boy myself,—& who was once an acquaintance & ⁠⟨⁠on f⁠⟩⁠riendly terms with m⁠⟨⁠y fa⁠⟩⁠ther— is to request t⁠⟨⁠hat, i⁠⟩⁠n the event of Tr⁠⟨⁠omer⁠⟩⁠ Lodge bei⁠⟨⁠ng⁠⟩⁠ again in ⁠⟨⁠the⁠⟩⁠ market, I may ha⁠⟨⁠ve the e⁠⟩⁠arliest intim⁠⟨⁠atio⁠⟩⁠n of the fact, thro⁠⟨⁠ugh so⁠⟩⁠me member of you⁠⟨⁠r or⁠⟩⁠ your wife’s famil⁠⟨⁠y o⁠⟩⁠r ⁠⟨⁠in the⁠⟩⁠ possible event of ⁠⟨⁠y⁠⟩⁠our ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ to be lamented decease.

⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ also to ask you to ⁠⟨⁠k⁠⟩⁠indly inform me—⁠⟨⁠(pri⁠⟩⁠vately) whether the ⁠⟨⁠1 or 2 words⁠⟩⁠ old deeds of the ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ve been transferred ⁠⟨⁠2 or 3 words⁠⟩⁠ (as I believe) Possessor3

With the greatest ⁠⟨⁠2 or 3 words⁠⟩⁠ the honour ⁠⟨⁠     ⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠Da⁠⟩⁠rwin Yrs mo⁠⟨⁠st⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ Ainslie

Dr Charles Darwin— F⁠⟨⁠RS⁠⟩⁠


Elizabeth Wedgwood had died on 8 November 1880 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Robert Ainslie was a Methodist minister who had lived in Down at Pond House (later Tromer Lodge) from 1845 to 1858 (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 [May 1858] and n. 5). The house was sold by Ainslie in 1862 and purchased by Elizabeth Wedgwood in 1868 (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to J. B. Innes, 22 December [1862], and Emma Darwin (1904) 2: 218–19).
Tromer Lodge was renamed ‘Tower House’ and advertised for sale in The Times, 4 June 1881, p. 15. When the house was sold on 13 August 1881, a new title was created with the following stipulation: ‘the purchaser shall not require the production of or investigate or make any requisition or objection in respect of the prior title whether the same shall appear to be in the vendor’s possession or power or not’ (London Borough of Bromley Archives, sale particulars collection, 1200/258).


Emma Darwin (1904): Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin. A century of family letters. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. Cambridge: privately printed by Cambridge University Press. 1904.


Has learned of death of Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood, former proprietor of Tromer Lodge, and writes about his deceased father’s earlier attempts to purchase this property. Requests information on any future transfer of it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Oliver Alexander Ainslie
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 48
Source of text
DAR 159: 11a (fragile)
Physical description
ALS 4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12842,” accessed on 10 June 2023,