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Welcome Home Charles Darwin Falmouth 2nd October 1836

October 2, 2016
800px-Charles_Darwin_Voyage_of_The_Beagle_plaque_Falmouth_Cornwall

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

180 years ago Charles Darwin arrived back in Falmouth aboard the HMS Beagle, after 5 years away at sea.

https://wordpress.com/post/darwin200stampzoo.wordpress.com/389

It hardly seems 10 years since I was taking photos in Falmouth and Flushing harbour using a tiny Britain’s 54mm Darwin figure and a model ship to publicise what was the forthcoming Darwin 200 celebration in 2009. (In fact I had started working on the project at Newquay Zoo ten years beforehand in 1996 on the 160th anniversary.)

You can read more about Darwin 200, his life in stamps and his work on the previous blogposts.

 

 

 

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New FREE Learning Resource for Key Stages 1-3

September 9, 2015

Source: New FREE Learning Resource for Key Stages 1-3

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!

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

A Victorian Christmas greeting, the Victorian Farm, gardens, female stamp collectors and a happy stampy crafty new year!

December 28, 2009

One of the best preserved working Victorian post boxes I have ever seen or used (despite being near the sea and many repaints) on St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, 2006. Look for these in your area on your own Victorian stamp time safari! Imagine how many Victorian letters and postcards to Cousin Jacks overseas must have passed through this post box. How many bright holiday greetings, christmas cards, Valentine's and sad black bordered letters. Reading WH Auden's poem Night Mail gives a flavour of what life in letters must have passed through this and continues today (mostly happy holiday postcards like this Gibsons Of Scilly archive image postcard now!)

Charles Darwin as a well off Victorian family men would have made much of Christmas, which it is often and popularly said, was  invented by Charles Dickens and the Victorians. For those of you who saw the evocative Christmas specials of BBC’s Victorian Farm set in the 1880s, the decade of Darwin’s death, there are 25 fabulous free craft resources for celebrating or preparing for next Christmas on the bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas  website.  

From handmade crackers to parlour games, toy theatres to paper marbling, decorations to recipes, there are some fabulous decorative ideas for use in the classroom or stamp room. The first Victorian Christmas card by Horsley and Cole is shown (only ten survive, so they are worth tens of thousands!). The halfpenny post rate for Christmas cards meant that they were originally written only the front decorated picture side, like many Victorian zoo postcards in the Newquay Zoo Victorian life collection, as nothing but the address was at first allowed on the address side. There are some lovely template Victorian cards on the website for use in school, great for handwriting practice and creative writing tasks. However real Victorian Christmas cards (and the scraps they resemble) for showing in the classroom can easily and fairly cheaply be found in junk / antique shops and sites like Ebay.    

 The bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas site is organised as  an ‘advent’ calender of  25 downloadable windows of Christmas activities featuring  instruction templates and short video clips to watch at home or school with the three fabulously enthusiastic presenters Alex, Ruth and Peter. Think of it as a Victorian farmhouse Blue Peter ‘make’ .  

More ideas for your Victorian stamp and time safaris out   

Hopefully you had a relaxing christmas with its Victorian traditions (or tack), watched Victorian Farm, Cranford and Doctor Who, so are  now looking forward to fresh sir, a few walks to get rid of Christmas pudding pounds and some inspiring visits (through time) out in 2010. We hope you liked the teaching suggestions in the last blog about going out and around your neighbourhood as  Victorian time detective. The BBC Victorian Farm original series is out on DVD (Acorn Media), set at Acton Scott Historic working farm in Darwin’s birth and childhood county of Shropshire. Shopping in Blists Hill Victorian village is shown on the series , whilst similar Victorian villages exist at Beamish, Black Country Living Museum, York Castle Museum, Flambards and Morwhelham Quay in Cornwall. Newquay Zoo is signed up to the Learning Outside the Classroom manifesto and quality badge scheme, so hope you will go out of the classroom or house on your Victorian time and stamp safari.  

Darwin was also an accomplished  botanist and interested in the work of many plant hunters sent out by his friend Hooker at Kew Gardens (sharing with Darwin an anniversary year and commemorative Royal Mint coin this year). We have in the office the superb Great Plant Hunt resource box sent out to all UK primary schools in 2009 – resources are downloadable at www.greatplanthunt.org).   

Tracking down rarer stamps can be as hazardous, murderous or dangerous  as the quest for rare orchids. We’ll be featuring some of the Darwin stamp book stamps of plants, dinosaurs and different countries  in our activity trails at Newquay Zoo in 2009 and 2010, showing how flexible and useful they can be as inspiration and illustration. Plant hunters of the Victorian era will be celebrated through the characters of  ‘Edwardiana Jones’ and his sister ‘Victoraina’ in our Plant Hunter trail events schedule at Newquay Zoo in May 2010 onwards.  Acorn Media also publish the DVD of the Victorian Kitchen / Garden series from the 1990s, worth tracking down especially once you’ve seen the Victorian estate, garden  and railway restorations such as  at Trevarno in Cornwall with its toy museum and National Gardening Museum. Heligan and the great heritage gardens of Cornwall including the one that Fitzroy, Darwin’s Captain of the Beagle visited when the Beagle docked in Falmouth such as Penjerrick gardens (near Trebah Gardens) are restored to their Victorian glory and open. Some of these such as Glendurgan are  run by the National Trust across the UK and your local regional versions of English Heritage should have many more inspiring Victorian sites (such as Lanhydrock in Cornwall) for you or your school to visit. Quuen Victoria’s Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Down House, Darwin’s home in Kent  are both English Heritage properties. The Victorian Society also do adult study tours, talks and Victorian pub crawls! 

More ideas   for your Victorian stamp and time safaris inside  

Like The 1900s House and Adam Hart Davis’ What the Victorians Did For Us before it, the BBC Victorian Farm  is an excellent programme and website for ideas. Lots of the craft activities could be adapted using stamps as decorative items, something the Victorians did themselves with countless early and now precious stamps! It took a few years after Rowland Hill’s Penny Post (the Penny Black issued on 6th May 1840)  for the collecting or classifying brain of a ‘stamp world Darwin’ and the entrepreneurial luck of men like Stanley Gibbons (1840 -Penny Post year -to 1913) to establish stamp collecting as  the worldwide hobby and trade it is today, rather than a craft pastime.  

It was however not just a boy’s pastime, something Beryl Rennie the Scottish stamp collector ,whose legacy bequest made the Darwin stamp book possible,  would be pleased to have known. I have met many female stamp collectors but not  sadly one of the first recorded ones, a young Victorian girl who wrote to the Times newspaper in 1841, asking readers to send her postage stamps for her collection. She was quick  off the mark , but limited in choice as only three stamps existed then to collect , the Penny Black,  Twopenny Blue and Penny Red.   

Maybe she was doing creative and imaginative craft work with them, as Sandie Robb the Darwin200stampzoo blog co-author continues to do at her fabulous wildlife stamp weekends at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo.  Victorians such as Albert Schafer plastered the walls with them, covered tables, chairs, fire screens, wreaths, maps, tea services in willow pattern, guitars, pianos, mantlepieces, model ships, made self-portraits, even covering whole rooms with stamps!  This craft tradition using stamps in a decorative way is still continued  in Cornwall where Newquay Zoo is based, with many fine stamp craft objects by local artists and crafts people in galleries such as in St. Just.  

Stamp collectors like our Victorian girl seem to be  faster to react than organised business. The first stamp album was not produced until 1862 and guide to stamp prices until  1863.  

Stamps (especially Christmas ones) are great I found this year for Christmas decorations and keepsakes, bringing us back to the 25 brilliant craft ideas on the BBC Victorian Farm website bbc.co.uk/victorian christmas.  There are some great craft and decorative articles in the free online Victoriana webzine / magazine http://www.victoriana.com/ a US based Victorian website worth signing up to!  

We’ll feature more about stamps for decorative craft as well as stamp collecting for  teaching resources in future blogs, including your portrait in stamps inspired by Victorian examples made of stamps. There are many fine portrait stamps of Darwin to feature in our book and blog, portraits of many kinds being good materials for an interesting classroom activity. Newquay Zoo – and myself in tiny form- had our ‘portrait’ painted many times in 2009 (the zoo’s 40th birthday year) as part of the Darwin 200 celebrations by our resident Cornish artist John Dyer working with Falmouth Art Gallery (see the weblinks). If you look carefully on his online gallery in his Zooing Around print of the zoo at dawn, you’ll spot a tiny me leading a tour by torchlight! More next time.  

Happy New Year! or as our Edinburgh Zoo colleagues say, Happy Hogmanay!  

Some more Victorian schools resource links  

More Darwin and Victorian links 

The BBC’s Victorian Farm series is based at Acton Scott’s  historic working farm in Shropshire, Darwin’s birth and childhood county 

http://www.actonscott.com/ 

http://www.actonscott.com/shropshire.php  based in Darwin’s birth county 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/darwin/ 

http://www.darwinshrewsbury.org/  with its 2010 Shrewsbury Darwin Festival 2010 12th – 14th February 

http://www.shift-time.org.uk/blog/ 

Step back in time: Victorian towns and villages 

Lots of downloadable activities, visit details and links at each of these sites 

http://www.beamish.org.uk/ 

http://www.kirkgatevictorianstreet.org.uk/   York castle Museum’s virtual Victorian street tour 

http://www.bclm.co.uk/ Black Country Living Museum, Dudley http://www.bclm.co.uk/witeachersresources.htm 

http://www.ironbridge.org.uk/learning/resources/  Blists Hill Victorian Town 

http://www.flambards.co.uk/exhibitions/the-victorian-village-experience.html  Flambards 

Learning outside the classroom manifesto website including advice on taking school trips out and about guidance and link to list of quality badge holders. 

http://www.lotc.org.uk/ 

Victorian Gardens and properties to visit  

Heligan – atmospheric photographs

http://www.heligan.com/ or http://www.heligan.com/non_flash/ 

Penjerrick

http://www.penjerrickgarden.co.uk/history.html 

Trebah

http://www.trebahgarden.co.uk/history_of_trebah.htm 

Glendurgan and Lanhydrock

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ 

Osborne House

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.19473 

Down House

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.19529 

http://www.charlesdarwintrust.org/education 

Stanley Gibbons

http://www.gibbonsstampmonthly.com/Journals/GSM/Gibbons_Stamp_Monthly/July_2006/attachments/sgstory.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/ 

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/victorianbritain/  

http://www.victoriana.com/

http://www.victorianweb.org/index.html

http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Victorians/  

http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/earlyphotos/index.html

A Victorian time safari … stamps and the secrets of cheap time travel revealed!

December 10, 2009
the stamp that started it all - the Penny Black of 1840, Young Queen Victoria's head

the stamp that started it all - the Penny Black of 1840, Young Queen Victoria's head

1837 – the year that Charles Darwin was writing up his notes of the Beagle voyage, having arrived home from  a five-year round the world trip a few months before. 

1837 – the year that an eighteen year old Princess Alexandra Victoria became Queen. 

1837 – the year that Rowland Hill wrote a pamphlet on Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicality which was successful enough to lead to the world’s first penny postage stamp service in 1840 and the Penny Black. It shows the head of the young Queen Victoria, as did the coinage very different from the ‘Old Queen’s Head’  seen in photographs, late Victorian pennies, statues and pub signs. Sandie Robb posted some pictures of Victorian coins in a previous blog. 

You can see the same ageing gracefully with our current monarch Queen Elizabeth II if you find pre-decimal coins (from your Britain in the 1960s history project), stamps from the 1950s and 60s compared to the more mature Queen’s portrait head now shown.   

Stamps and commemoratives are very much about then and now, great for comparison, dating and timeline activities in class. 

Reproduction coins from Westair are good but not as atmospheric as  real Victorian objects such as pennies, even penny reds and penny blacks are not that expensive or difficult to track down for the classroom or school history collection. Check through E-bay, charity and junk shops or stamp   dealers;  a well spent £10 to £20 can pick up some useful originals that children can see and in the case of coins, handle. Victorian stamps are a bit more fragile and the inks less light permanent than modern ones. 

Some more teaching tips 

There is something intangible, exciting, magical even about handling old and historic objects, however ordinary. It gives the chance to let the imagination enter history lessons – who might have handled that Victorian penny? Posted that Victorian stamp? 

1. The story of a stamp or penny, Victorian style 

What letter might that Victorian stamp have come from, who wrote it and what news did it contain? 

Was it on a postcard, another Victorian invention or the Christmas card (first invented 1843)? 

 How was it delivered? By whom? 

Early Green Victorian pillar box from UK Royal Mail stamp series

Which post box or pillar box (which had to be invented, like the letter box in front doors)? Some VR postboxes still exist in older areas of town and country. 

What streets did it pass down? 

Over what surfaces underfoot? 

Past what type of transport? 

Into what type of building or shop? 

How was the building and the street lit? What kind of people’s pockets might it have passed through (or been stolen from)? Many local museums and art galleries in towns and cities like our local Darwin 200 partners http://www.falmouthartgallery.com and Penlee House http://www.penleehouse.org.uk/ have fabulously atmospheric Victorian paintings of street scenes and seaside promenades such as ‘The Rain It Raineth Everyday’. (Not much changes in Cornwall – I love the figure of the rain-caped Victorian bobby as one of my ancestors was just such a Victorian policeman in Penzance where this is painted, see  http://www.penleehouse.org.uk/collections/item/PEZPH:1989.61.html ).  

 The best paintings  by painter W.P. Frith (1819-1909) give a colourful picture of Victorian life at the races, railway stations, post offices and seaside including ‘Ramsgate Sands’  from Queen Victoria’s collection http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/eGallery/maker.asp?maker=11716&object=405068&row=1 and the V&A’s Derby Day (1858) sketches http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O132987/oil-painting-sketch-for-the-derby-day/   You can more web-zoomable paintings by Frith for use in class at http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/frith_william_powell.html 

 Many photographs (Victorian invention alert!) of local areas can be found online http://www.francisfrith.com/ from the Francis Frith collection, a pioneering Victorian photographer (1822-1898 )http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Frith

Prints of these paintings and photos  are available. These would prove a good classroom focus for thinking about the different types of people, clothes, jobs, wealth, childhood shown or portrayed. In whose (picked) pockets would that Victorian coin of yours be? Who would have written the letter posted with your stamp? 

Creative writing and drama can easily come out of a display using drama techniques such as hot-seating, freeze-frame, role-play and speech bubbles. There are some good drama idaes on teaching websites such as http://www.dramateachers.co.uk/ and http://www.free-teaching-resources.co.uk/drama.shtml 

2. Victorian Time safaris 

You can become a time detective (detectives were a Victorian invention, and although not invented but popularised in the 1880s by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes)  and go on Victorian safari round your town and look at what survives, especially above shop front level; many grand Victorian buildings are under threat for development around the country. The Victorian Society fights for their protection and continued use, including the very schools that Victorians built after the Education reforms of 1870 http://www.victoriansociety.org.uk/ (not to be confused with the Victorian Military Society and its re-enactors of Victorian soldiering, http://www.thediehards.co.uk that you might meet at Living History events. They might even visit schools!) 

We’ll put more ideas on going out of the classroom inspired by Darwin, your stamp or coins (many zoos are signed up to the Learning outside the Classroom manifesto and quality badging http://www.lotc.org.uk/ ) in future blogs. 

3. Then and Now 

In the case of Victorian pennies, many of these are smoothed almost to obliteration from decades of use and service. What changes they must have seen until decimal coins of today came in at the end of the 1960s? 

You could update your street or seaside scene / display / creative writing/ drama piece to the modern-day with some fast forwards, zooms and cheap imaginative time travel in the classroom. 

The Victorians would approve, being great pioneers of science fiction, ranging from Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, writer of the Time Machine to Conan Doyle.

Extinction, conservation, Charles Darwin, zoos and stamp collecting?

September 30, 2009
Charles Darwin dinosaur hunter (featured on a  cigraette card)

Charles Darwin dinosaur hunter (featured on a 1940s or 1950s cigarette card)

Stamp collectors sometimes collect other things, like trade cards or cigarette and tea cards. (It’s often called collecting ephemera). This card is from my collection  at Newquay Zoo, showing Charles Darwin as a geologist and fossil or dinosaur hunter. We had so many possible stamps and images to choose from our collections that we had to leave this one out of the Darwin stamp book , despite there being a fabulous area featured of Charles Darwin stamp collecting – DINOSAURS.

There are however many great designs of dinosaur stamps from a bewildering range of countries that we have scanned from the collection of Sandie Robb at RZSS and Eugene Wood to illustrate the use of stamps as educational resources and objects of great beauty, miniature and usually affordable works of art.

Using the dinosaur stamps or fossil plant stamps in the classroom or the craftroom, students could research the dinosaur pictured and named on each stamp. Mini fact files can be found on websites like www.nhm.ac.uk the Natural History Museum, BBC, National Geographic and others.

Teaching or craft idea:  Dinosaur landscapes or communities (even good old predator / prey food webs in class!) could be painted or depicted around printed out or enlarged scans of stamps.

Did all the dinosaurs featured live at the same time? What fossil plants could you show them with?

 I have seen some beautifully hand painted stamp pages in albums or designs for First Day Covers  (some Darwin ones are featured in our book). Just be careful you don’t splash paint on your favourite stamps!  

And the zoo connection? Where have all the dinosaurs gone? What does extinction mean? The extinction of dinosaurs was one thing humans can’t be blamed for, a result of a rapidly but naturally changing world. However, one animal featured in our stamp book is the Warrah, a Falklands Wolf seen by Charles Darwin on his famous Voyage of the Beagle.

Sandie Robb in her non-stampy role for RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has worked on the Falkland Islands linking Scottish and Falkland schools (see her blog at www.rzssfalklands.wordpress.com).

Sandie didn’t see a Warrah as they are now as extinct as the dinosaurs Darwin discovered, but extinct in the last 100 to 150 years, persecuted like other wolves as a threat to that famous non-native Falkland animal, the sheep!

Maybe Warrah would still exist in the wild or at least in zoos in Edinburgh or Newquay if they had survived just a little longer; instead it’s just a stamp! How very sad and frustrating for conservationists! There are many other creatures we can still save …

My favourite Darwin portrait stamp

September 30, 2009
"My favourite Darwin portrait stamp" - blog co-author Mark Norris

"My favourite Darwin portrait stamp" - blog co-author Mark Norris

“I like the simplicity of line, colours and the dignity or gravity of this stamp – it does all it needs to do to celebrate the quiet intensity of a character like Darwin. Just his  name, simple dates and no unintentionally strange caricature of Darwin’s portrait, copied from early portrait paintings or photographs. It’s not the classic grand old scientist and  man with beard we are so used to seeing” says Mark Norris.

“In the classroom for example you could look at clothes, costumes, hair style (Darwin’s picture on stamps is usually copied from early portrait paintings or photographs).

Lots of questions result from this one stamp:

How was this stamp produced? Who was Darwin? Why was or is Darwin celebrated on a stamp? Why was this stamp one of many Darwin stamps produced by a then Communist country? Which country and which currency are shown? How long did Darwin live? Who was Queen or King when Darwin was alive? What happened in this time (timeline)?

Then you can compare it with other stamp designs. Which is your favourite?

This is one of the dozens of Darwin stamps featured in our forthcoming book Charles Darwin: A Celebration in Stamps, to be published in November 2009, 150 years since Darwin published Origin of the Species and in Darwin’s 200th anniversary year.

This blog will give teachers, children  and stamp enthusiast of all ages ideas about how stamps can be used educationally and artistically in the classroom, the craftroom and in your own stamp collection.

In future blogs,  Darwin stamp book authors Sandie Robb from RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and Mark Norris from Newquay Zoo in the UK will tell you more about how they use stamps in their jobs, why they collect them and how they promote stamp collecting and philately.

New Charles Darwin / Darwin 200 related stamp blog

September 27, 2009

This is a weblog  for a new Darwin 200 related stamp site celebrating his life, times and commemoration in postage stamps. It is a joint project with Sandie Robb at Edinburgh Zoo, RZSS, Mark Norris Newquay Zoo and the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies, ASPS and Scottish Philatelic Trade Assocaition, SPTA. We have published a book for educational use, initially in Scottish and Cornish schools, entitled ‘Charles Darwin: A Celebration in Stamps’. It will be launched on 24th November 2009, the 150th anniversary of the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’. It is also part of Darwin200, the bicentenary celebrations.

The weblog will have lots of ideas, new scans and updates for using the publication and ideas for teaching using stamps. Watch this space for more.