Only a few days from home, 175 years ago: Darwin’s landfall, Falmouth, October 2nd 1836

September 29, 2011

On this day 175 years ago, Charles Darwin was close to ending his world-changing 5 year journey round the world  Only a few days away from landfall and harbour in Falmouth on October 2nd 1836 and  a few days coach journey home away from his family in Shrewsbury.

Plaque marking spot of Darwin's landfall from HMS Beagle voyage, Oct 2 1836 in Falmouth and his departure home by coach.

A plaque now marks the place where Darwin made landfall that evening in Falmouth, arranged by Falmouth Town Council and Falmouth Art Gallery, during the Darwin 200 celebrations .

We still have  a few copies available to schools free of our Darwin stamp book – contact Sandie Robb at Edinburgh Zoo or Mark Norris at Newquay Zoo.  

A new Darwin stamp book for 2011

Many of the new 175th anniversary stamps issued to celebrate Darwin’s journey can be found in Barry Floyd’s new book Chrles Darwin His Life Through Commemorative Stamps (2011) , available through Traveller’s Tree Thematic Services, 30 Watch Bell Street, Rye, E. Sussex, TN31 7HB, UK Priced £15 + £2 P&P (UK). £5 P&P overseas Cheques in sterling to B N Floyd.

Look out in 2012 for events and publications celebrating Edward Lear’s bicentenary.  See the Blog of Bosh and other websites including www.nonsenselit.org

See our previous blog entry on Lear

http://darwin200stampzoo.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/the-victorians-are-not-dead-and-gone-celebrating-the-big-and-bearded-victorian-icons-from-darwin-to-lear-a-future-festival-of-nonsense/

175th Anniversary of Charles Darwin’s visit to Australia

January 12, 2011

As Mark has mentioned in the previous post, this year marks a 175th anniversary of Darwin’s return later in the year but on the 12th January 1836 he landed in Sydney Cove, Australia.

The following cover was issued on 1st April 1986 which is was the 150th anniversary of the visit to Cocos(Keeling) Islands. These islands are an Australian territory and lie in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Christmas Island. They consist of two atolls and other coral islands. An atoll is an island of coral around a lagoon.

Darwin explained the creation of coral atolls from his observations. They started as an ocean volcano and through gradual subsidence, the island sinks but the surrounding coral reef grows upwards, becoming a barrier reef island.  Over time, the subsidence takes the old volcano below ocean level and only the barrier reef remains. It is then termed an atoll.

Darwin was also fascinated by the platypus. At first he thought the platypus was so unusual, along with some of the other Australian animals that if there was a creator then it must be two different creators to make such absurd animals!

Of course later, it all fitted into his theory that the species had evolved from primitive mammals which still had many reptilian characteristics.

The platypus is a monotreme. These are mammals but instead of giving birth to live young they lay eggs. They are not primitive mammals because they have evolved over time. Mammals have evolved from reptiles. Monotremes probably branched off at an early stage and still have some reptilian features. There are 3 species of monotreme – duck billed platypus; short nosed echidna and long nosed echidna.

I also have this 1999 Australian 5c coin in my collection with echidna pictured on it. The echidna along with many australian animals have appeared on their coinage.

And please spare a thought for the floods in Australia at present.

Famous footsteps, incredible journeys: Happy New Darwin Anniversary Year 2011 – 175 years on, and a bit more of our Victorian Time Safari …

January 2, 2011

It’s 175 years this year since Charles Darwin returned to Britain at the end of his five-year voyage, just as the Victorian period was beginning. He had spent his last Christmas 1835 away from home and was heading back in HMS Beagle for the final part of his epic voyage of discovery. He still had much of Australia, New Zealand, Keeling Islands, Mauritius, Cape Town in South Africa, St. Helena, Ascension Island and Brazil (again) to visit before reaching Britain. Many of these countries, especially the islands, mark the anniversary of his famous visit with postage stamps.

By October 2nd, 1836 he would be back on land in Falmouth and heading home by mail coach

Plaque marking spot of Darwin's landfall from HMS Beagle voyage, Oct 2 1836 in Falmouth and his departure home by coach.

A plaque set up by Falmouth Town Council and Falmouth Art Gallery marks the point where he made landfall in Falmouth and waited for the mail coach home. Within a year, a new Queen would be on the throne and a new era of scientific, agricultural and technological revolution begun. Lots of developments had happened in technology and society whilst he had been away, not least the beginnings of railway mania, so that the very coach he travelled on was soon to become obsolete as public transport within his lifetime.

The penny post and Penny Black stamp were only a few years aways in 1840. By the time he died in 1882, telegraph communication was widespread and telephones in their infancy. The first petrol engine vehicles were in development. Cinema experiments were beginning. Iron and steam had replaced wood and sail in modern ships. Darwin lived through an amazing century, which set the pace for the developments since.

There’s a 2009 news story and photos about the Darwin’s landfall plaque in Falmouth  http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/news/falmouth/Plaque-marks-Darwin-landfall/article-1636415-detail/article.html

Sadly since this was put up, Brian Stewart the curator of Falmouth Art Gallery has sadly died in December 2010, much missed by  the Newquay Zoo staff with whom he worked extensively on Darwin 200 activities. Many tributes can be read to his work in the Falmouth Packet newspaper. Newquay Zoo staff were already planning a follow-up to Darwin 200 based around nonsense poet and animal painter Edward Lear’s bicentenary in May 2012.    

Darwin is not the only eminent Victorian to have his landing-place marked in Cornwall. We’ve included it as part of our Victorian Time Safari, looking at the legacy of Darwin’s Victorian times around us. What can you see in your village, town or city from Victorian times?

We spotted this unusual footprint when arriving by boat ferry at St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, that magical castle in the sea that Darwin would have passed on his route into Falmouth just up the coast.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert 's royal visit marked by bronze plaque near her 'footstep' at St. Michaels' Mount, Cornwall (Photo: Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo)

Nearby, Truro station has all the ornate ironwork of a Victorian station still, including its VR Victorian post box. Nearby, Truro station has all the ornate ironwork of a Victorian station still, including its VR Victorian post box. On a recent Dublin trip, we saw a Victorian explorer commemorated not in stamps but in a lifesize bronze statue. What Victorain memorials or  inventions can you find in your area?

Ornate Victorian ironwork, Truro rail station, Cornwall, 2010Ornate decorative Victorian ironwork, Truro rail station, Cornwall, 2010Victorian statue of explorer / surgeon TH Parke from Stanley's expeditions in Africa, outside Dublin Natural History Museum

151st Anniversary of the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’

November 24, 2010

Can you think of 151 facts you know about Charles Darwin or his theory of evolution by natural selection? These facts should be original to the man Charles Darwin and particular to his theory.

For anyone who has previously read this post when it just stated list 151 facts about Charles Darwin and Evolution, we had some ‘smart’ people listing things like:

 He had two legs

He had two eyes

He had five fingers on each hand

He was born

He was married

He had children

He had a beard

He is dead…

And yes getting to 151 that way may be easy!

So let’s have some more original facts particular to Charles Darwin and his theory!

If you read through this blog, it will help you!

Royal Mail Teacher’s Post

September 29, 2010

Sandie Robb appears in the Autumn issue of Royal Mail’s Teacher’s Post magazine featuring the Darwin 200 book.

You can download a pdf version of the magazine at:

http://www.teacherspost.co.uk/

Teachers can contact Royal Mail direct for free copies of the book while stocks last.

Happy 225th birthday, US postal system 26 July 1775

July 26, 2010

Taken / Reposted from the http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

Welcome to the THIS DAY IN HISTORY daily email from History.com

 July 26 1775 : U.S. postal system established

On this day in 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system. During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns.

 In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities.

However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.

Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with over 700,000 career workers, who handle more than 44 percent of the world’s cards and letters. The postal service is a not-for-profit, self-supporting agency that covers its expenses through postage (stamp use in the United States started in 1847) and related products. The postal service gets the mail delivered, rain or shine, using everything from planes to mules. However, it’s not cheap: The U.S. Postal Service says that when fuel costs go up by just one penny, its own costs rise by $8 million.

 American Revolution  1775 : Congress establishes U.S. Post Office

View original post at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-establishes-us-post-office

Wallace – the alternative Darwin – gets a postage stamp or two at last!!

July 25, 2010

George Beccaloni left a very excited message on the Alfred Russel Wallace website  about the 2009 issue by Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (in Africa) of Wallace stamps – at last!

You might have read earlier Sandie’s jubilant blog entry about the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society postage stamps from the Royal Mail featuring Wallace  http://http://royalsociety.org/Royal-Society-350th-anniversary-stamps/ 

Interesting to compare the two different designs!

The centenary of Wallace’s death in 1913 is due soon in 2013 and the Wallace Fund website blog has more details about how this is being marked around the world. There is also a short biography of this amazing man and many links.

These very Darwin style portrait and dinosaur stamps compare well with some of the Darwin 200 and other anniversary issues shown in our Charles Darwin: A Life In Stamps book, published in 2009. Copies are still available to schools (free) and collectors (small charge, see earlier blog).  The stamps should,  as George notes,   appeal to dinosaur stamp collectors as much as Darwin realted stamp collectors.  

 http://wallacefund.info/first-ever-postage-stamps-featuring-alfred-russel-wallace-are-published

His book The Malay Archipeligo has never been out of print since its publication, much like Darwin’s Voyage of The Beagle, another classic of  Victorian travel writing.

Wallace’s travels took him across Indonesia including to Papua New Guinea where our Black Tree Monitors are from and Sulawesi, an Indonesian island,  home to Sulawesi Macaque monkeys that are now critically endangered – you can see our group at Newquay Zoo through our webcam http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/conservation/sulawesi-crested-black-macaques.htm, part of our support for Selamatkan Yaki (Protect The Macaque! in Bahasan Indonesian).

We’ll keep you posted on celebartions for Wallace 2013, Darwin 2011 and Edward Lear 2012 on the blog – watch this space.

Artistic Scrapbooking Stamp Pages

July 14, 2010

I made a scrapbook all about Madagascar and used photos, stamps, and other materials to make up the pages.

Look how I have used the tails of the ring tailed lemur in the following example:

Try your own designs.

About Madagascar and how it came to have unique animals not found anywhere else -

The reason is because of evolution by natural selection. When Madagascar became separated from Africa, the island conditions were very different from the mainland. The animals and plants evolved according to their new circumstances and became new species over millions of years. And because Madagascar is an island the new species are not found anywhere else.

Sandie Robb, RZSS

Artistic Pages

July 14, 2010

Well if you have been collecting stamps, what do you do with them and how do you display them?

There are plenty of traditional stamp albums and stamp pages. Look on any good stamp collecting site to learn about what is available and how to use stamp hinges or stamp mounts to protect your mint stamps – stamps that have not been postmarked. Try www.planetstamp.co.uk

But I like to display my stamps in a more artistic way. I also like scrapbooking – there are lots of sites about crafts and scrapbooking too. I sometimes mix my stamps with other related material such as photos, magazine/newspaper cut-outs, actual bits and pieces etc.

Here are examples of some evolution related pages:

Minerals and Fossils has actual pieces of pyrite, amethyst, agate, corals and sharks teeth on the page!

In ‘Posting with Dinosaurs’ I used an old stamp magazine and cut out part of the article then added the real stamps.

Sandie Robb, RZSS

Centenary of Florence Nightingale’s Death 13 August 2010: update of ‘Florence Fatigue’ and another Great Victorian on postage stamps: Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and women scientists on stamps.

May 16, 2010

A 1960s UK stamp featuring Florence Nightingale from my childhood album (in old L-S-D pennies) with a youthful Queen Elizabeth head, much like the Young Victoria!

This Friday 13th sees the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s death on 13 August 1910. Commemorated in many ways  through a Royal Mint £2 coin, a church service on Radio 4  Sunday morning 8th August  2010 (available on I-player) and much press coverage about anniversary events http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2010/07/09/55064/florence-nightingale-centenary-nursing-by-numbers.html 

along with her refurbished museum http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/cms/

Visitors to the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, where part of Wind in The Willows was written by Kenneth Grahame, can see Florence Nightingale’s signature in the visitor’s book of what was a very popular Victorian hotel for travellers overseas via  the busy Falmouth harbour. http://www.greenbank-hotel.co.uk/falmouth-hotel/14/falmouth+hotel+history.html 

Readers of our Darwin 200 stamp blog will note that much of our Darwin celebrations locally in Cornwall in 2009 focussed on Falmouth, where Darwin made landfall on Oct 2 1836 at the end of the Beagle voyage. A plaque, rather then register entry,  marks the spot as he rapidly left for home by mail coach after five homesick and seasick adventurous years. Darwin and Nightingale in their dogged pursuit of evidence or statistics to support their arguments would have had no doubt a very interesting discussion, had they ever met!  

 Her obituary can be found at http://century.guardian.co.uk/1910-1919/Story/0,,126410,00.html  and an interesting research blog at http://www.florence-nightingale-avenging-angel.co.uk/

Previous Entry May 2010:

Every 12 May around the world is International Nursing Day, baacuse it is also Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Happy 190th birthday Florence.  

This year has extra significance, amazingly it is only 100 years since Florence Nightingale  died on 13 August 2010.

Florence was one of that generation of long-lived famous Victorians who lived well into the Twentieth Century including Alfred Russel Wallace the explorer and evolutionary theorist who died in 1913. Wallace has been mentioned on this blog site with news that you may soon see him on a UK stamp.

One of our recent commenters on the blog asked why we didn’t mention Rosalind Franklin ‘the dark lady of DNA’ when we introduced DNA, Crick and Watson. A trawl through internet stamp sites and Stanley Gibbons catalogues will produce some images of women scientists and engineers who aren’t Marie Curie. (Personally I look forward to a portrait stamp of Hedy Lamarr, featuring a background print of her World War Two patent for torpedo switching gear).

 Not surprisingly the Royal Mail, mints  and postage stamp designers ariound the world have often honoured nurses, Florence Nightingale and occasionally her contemporary Mary Seacole  often over the last 100 years.

http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/rcn_archives/exhibitions/international_postage_stamps/florence_nightingale

http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/rcn_archives/exhibitions/international_postage_stamps/mary_jane_seacole  

2009/10 also marks the 150th anniversary of  her important book Notes on Nursing, based on her experiences in The Crimean War. www.royalmint.com/store/BritishBase/UKFNBU.aspx.  Just as revolutionary in its time and field as Darwin’s Origin of Species, the International College of Nursing ICN  modern edition of Notes on Nursing is still available 150 years later!

As a scientist, Florence is also famous for using Pie charts to present information in persuasive ways, useful for introducing maths to the history curriculum and the ever present role model search for women scientists.

Some primary teachers I know do groan at the name Florence Nightingale as this is currently the examplar famous Victorian person in the current National Curriculum (England and Wales) and some hope the new one due in  2011 is Florence free. http://http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/schemes2/history/his4/?view=get 

Talking to collegues and stall holders at a history teaching conference including the TTS people who have a Florence section http://www.tts-group.co.uk/, some teachers  after many years of teaching Florence were showing signs of ‘Florence Fatigue’. This will hopefully never become a recognisable medical condition.

Examples of creating famous person / Florence Nightingale displays (timelines!) using postage stamps can be seen at: http://fnif.org/,  showing pictures of  the story of Florence Nightingale as an exhibition of stamps at the ICN Congress in Durban by Marilyn Gendek, an Australian nurse and philatelist. 

Country Joe’s site covers statues and other memorails, good for looking at evidence of Victorians in our towns and local areas such as suggested on our Victorian Time safari blog entries last year: http://www.countryjoe.com/nightingale/honors.htm   

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~cwfn/stamps/index.html  

http://www.sma.org.sg/smj/4703/4703ms1.pdf   

is a comprehensive six page long pdf article on Florence Nightingale in stamps.

The Crimean War was marked 150 years on by a recent Royal Mail issue four or five years ago – see the Royal Mail website.   Local regimental museums and the National Army Museum at Chelsea are also good sources for information on this conflict.

There is lots of biographical information on Florence ranging from the BBC, Victorian Web and Wikipedia to the Florence Nightingale Museum

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~cwfn/    her collected works and writings

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/crimea/florrie.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/nightingale_florence.shtml


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