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Darwins Landscape Laboratory -Heritage Lottery helps Bromley Council evolve Discover Darwin Project

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Heritage Lottery helps Bromley Council evolve Discover Darwin Project

It was in the peaceful countryside that now forms part of the Borough of Bromley that naturalist Charles Darwin formulated his seminal theories on evolution. And now, thanks to a grant of 227,500 pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the influence of those surroundings and its biodiversity will be the subject of a series of public events and special activities.

Organised and managed by Bromley Council the Discovering Darwin project will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the scientist's birth, the 150th anniversary of the publication of his work On the Origin of Species and with a bid to have an area of 7km2 recognised as a World Heritage Property.

The HLF grant will make possible the recruitment of an outreach officer to guide the project which will include public events including a Darwin Festival, skills and heritage training days and walks and talks in collaboration with scientists from the Natural History Museum.

A schools work pack will be designed and 'Darwin Days' created for local primary and secondary schools. A programme of activities will be devised for local schools and community groups and workshops run for local volunteers who in turn will be able to act as guides and interpreters for heritage trails around the area.

A website will also be developed to enable 'virtual tours' of the area to take place. The overall focus of the project will be Darwin - the man and his family; his work, ideas, theories, methods and impact; and his environment. Improvements will also be made to existing interpretation signage around the locality and portable displays created for use at various sites associated with his work.

World Heritage Bid Manager Alister Hayes said: "We are delighted that the support of the HLF will enable local people to cherish Darwin?s work in the borough. The story is of enormous interest and value. We are eager to share it particularly with children as they will inherit responsibility for the future of their local and global environment".

Rebecca Kane, English Heritage's Visitor Operations Director for London said: "We are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth by launching a brand new exhibition on Darwin's work as well as a hand held multi media tour of Down House and the gardens where he carried out many of his experiments. This funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund is excellent news because it means that we can explain Darwin's work to a much wider audience than would otherwise be possible".

Commenting for the Heritage Lottery Fund, Head of HLF London Sue Bowers said: "This project will introduce a much larger audience to the open-air laboratory in which Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection. It will link the local habitat and biodiversity to the insights which have had a global impact".

Heritage Lottery helps Bromley Council evolve Discover Darwin Project