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BBC World Service | Learning English | Beyond the Postcard - Shrewsbury
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Learning English - Beyond the Postcard
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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is closely connected with Shrewsbury. The famous scientist, father of the theory of evolution was born here. This text gives more information about Darwin and his connection to the town.

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  Shrewsbury Statue of Charles Darwin
 
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Charles Darwin was the scientist who first put forward the idea of evolution. He was born in Shrewsbury in (...1...), one of six children in a doctor's family. At the age of 9, he went to Shrewsbury School. But both there and later at university, he always found the subjects he was meant to be studying less interesting than science and natural history. Those became his passion, and then his life's work.

He became a close friend of a professor of botany at Cambridge University. This led to an invitation to be the (...2...) on a surveying voyage around the world aboard HMS Beagle. It turned out to be a voyage of five years, with much of the time spent on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America. At every opportunity Darwin went (...3...) to study the plants, animals and rocks.

When he returned, he published the first of his (...4...) books, called "The Voyage of the Beagle". But it was a later book, also based on his observations during that voyage, which made him famous. In "The Origin of Species" he set out his theories of evolution - that (...5...) develop by natural selection through survival of the (...6...), and by gradual adaptation to their environment. It was an instant bestseller. Even now, 150 years later, we automatically link the name 'Darwin' with the idea of evolution.

Although in later life he moved away to the south of England, he was (...7...) of the town where he was born. In a letter to the captain of the Beagle after he returned from their epic voyage, he wrote: "All England appears changed, excepting the good old town of Shrewsbury and its (...8...)." A statue commemorates Darwin outside the buildings of his former school, which have now become the public library.

Links for more information
Shrewsbury Museums Service - Charles Darwin
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