Darwin’s Daughters

Image: View in the Grounds of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire (Frontispiece of Erasmus Darwin, A Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools (Derby, 1797). This provided the location for the girl’s school managed by Darwin’s two daughters by Mary Parker.

Image from: Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield (By kind permission of Dr E D Barlow).

Photograph: David Remes (2003).

Darwin acknowledged his two daughters by Mary Parker, Susan (1772-1856) and Mary (1774-1859) as his own and brought them up in his home on equal terms with his legitimate children. He was particularly fond of them and was concerned over their education and future. They started their careers as governesses, but Darwin would later help them to set up a girls’ boarding school of their own on Brooke Boothby’s estate in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.


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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