An “ever-open door”: Erasmus Darwin and Lichfield

Samuel Johnson described Lichfield as a “city of philosophers” where Erasmus Darwinwas the most prominent of an outstanding group of 18th century writers, medical men and intellectuals who were born in the city or lived locally.

Darwin was probably Britain’s most eminent doctor and George III tried to persuade him to leave Lichfield and become his personal physician. Darwin’s reputation, though, was built on other achievements. He was a philosopher, scientist and poet and contributed as a thinker to the international Enlightenment.

Lichfield provided the environment which enabled Darwin to secure wealth, a happy domestic life and the leisure to engage in creative activity. Inside the city and its surroundings he observed, investigated, debated and wrote.

This exhibition by Olga Baird explores Darwin’s life and legacy in Lichfield.


Time:   |    |    |    |    |    |  
Browse:   |    |    |  
Image creators: Print of Erasmus Darwin as a young man
Image courtesy of: Local Studies and History, Birmingham Central Library

Continue browsing this section

10-0An “ever-open door”: Erasmus Darwin and Lichfield 1068-0Lichfield in the late 18th century 3997-0Darwin’s Home 1085-0Darwin’s Medical Practice 1077-0“Doctor Darwin – On the Road” 1072-0Medical Research and Dissection 1088-0Inventions, the Commonplace Book and the Lunar Society 1078-0Biological Evolution 1071-0Home Life 1082-0Darwin’s Sons 1076-0Mary Parker 1083-0Darwin’s Daughters 1087-1Darwin and Education 1080-0Elizabeth Pole 1069-0Darwin’s Legacy
Sources and Further Reading

Additional material on Erasmus Darwin and Lichfield is available on www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk, see the People and Place sections of the website Erasmus Darwin House (www.erasmusdarwin.org). Birmingham City Archives (www.birmingham.gov.uk/archives). Letters of Erasmus Darwin in Boulton and Watt papers. King-Hele, Desmond, Doctor of Revolution: The Life and Genius of Erasmus Darwin(1977). King-Hele, Desmond, Erasmus Darwin (1962). King-Hele, Desmond, Erasmus Darwin: A Life of Unequalled Achievement (1999). McNeil, Maureen, Under the Banner of Science: Erasmus Darwin and his Age (1987). Uglow, Jenny, The Lunar Men (London, 2002). Upton, Chris, A History of Lichfield (Chichester, 2001).