Shrewsbury Grammar School


As Charles grew more unruly at home, it was decided that he should go to school. In the spring of 1817 he started at the day school in Shrewsbury High Street. Charles didn’t do well in his lessons. But he enjoyed the company of other boys.

During the summer of this first year at school, Mrs. Dawson died. Charles was eight years old, and the following year he was sent to join his brother Erasmus at Shrewsbury Grammar school. Shrewsbury was a highly respected place of learning, run by a famous headmaster, Dr Samuel Butler. Although they lived nearby, both boys boarded at school during the week and came home to The Mount at weekends. Charles was always more interested in studying wildlife than in learning Latin and Greek verse. His masters thought him a poor scholar, and a rather ordinary boy. There were no science lessons at all.

Edinburgh University


Dr. Darwin did not appreciate these new interests, on 1824 he told Charles he’d be leaving school the following year and joining his brothers at Edinburgh University and become a doctor.

Although not yet 17, Charles started studying at Edinburgh University in October 1825. He found most of the lectures dull and was disappointed that those in botany and zoology taught him no more about plants and animals than he already knew

By his second year at Edinburgh Charles knew that medicine was not the career for him. He found his first dissection class so awful that he refused to go to another. It was obvious medicine was not the career for him.