Gee Research Blog
Competitive Generosity Drives Charitable Donations
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:09:46 +0000
Unconditional generosity is a characteristic of humans on which we pride ourselves, and billions of dollars is donated to hundreds of thousands of charitable organisations every year. But look at it from an evolutionary perspective, and this trait seems difficult to explain. In some situations, giving may have evolved to advertise positive characteristics of the […]
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Annoucing the Winners of the Write About Research Competition
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:49:07 +0000
Thanks to everyone who entered our Write About Research competition. We received some great entries from GEE students and postdocs, covering a broad range of topics from conservation to genetics. The entries will be posted here over the coming months, so watch this space! The Winners are… Drum roll please … WINNER: David Curnick – […]
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Male Promiscuity Boosts Role of Chance in Sex Chromosome Evolution
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:02:31 +0000
Humans, like all mammals and birds, determine sex with chromosomes. Whether a fertilised egg develops into a male or female depends on what chromosomes it carries Scientists have long recognised that genes evolve a little differently on the sex chromosomes, and recent research in GEE suggests this may be due to differing patterns of inheritance […]
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Sloths Move Slow, Evolve Fast
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:20:41 +0000
Sloths might be notorious for their leisurely pace of life, but research published last year shows they are no slow coaches when it comes to evolution. Sloths, as we know and love them, are small, slow-moving creatures found in the trees of tropical rainforests. But modern sloths are pretty odd compared to their extinct relatives. […]Read more...
Write About Research – A GEE Research Blog Competition
Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:28:43 +0000
The GEE Research blog communicates UCL science with a wider, non-specialist audience, by providing short summaries of recent research in the department of UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment. This provides an opportunity to engage with a broad audience, including other academics, students, members of the public, and even businesses and policy-makers. It is a great […]
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Darwin rented a house on the site where the Darwin Building now stands and lived there with his newlywed wife, Emma, for about 4 years. He moved in on New Year's Eve 1838-9, eager to start his married live in a few weeks time. He and Emma named the house "macaw Cottage" because of the ghastly red and yellow decorating scheme of the previous occupant. To see what the house looked like in Darwin's day, just look across the street. At the time this was "Upper Gower Street" and it was a quiet cul de sac with a gate at the corner of University Street, where the Grant Museum is now. Darwin liked to jog in the back garden. (Steve Jones likes to call the Darwin Lecture Theater "Darwin's coal basement". Not quite! In Darwin's day the basement served as a kitchen.) Darwin selected Gower Street to live because it was close to Euston Station, brand new in the late 1830s, and he and Emma travelled frequently to see their family in Shropshire.
After the Darwins left the house, it was rented further to various undistinguished people until late in the Century when several houses were bought up by a Tottenham Court Road furniture company. They created a boarding house for 300 men. Two houses over they created a boarding house for 100 women. One would fret for the single family living in the house in the middle! The furniture company went bankrupt in the early 20thC -bought up by Harrod's.
Later the boarding house was used by the Indian Student's Association.
The house was destroyed during the blitz in a raid that destroyed the row of terraced houses and also destroyed what is now the science library (and what had been Darwin's back garden). After the war the plot was cleared and left vacant.
In the early 1960s the Biological Science Building - the present building on the site - was built. It was controversial for its modernist facade - not at all what some people thought of as classical Bloomsbury.
The building was rechristened "Darwin" in 1982 thanks to the Darwin scholar and bibliographer RB Freeman, as part of the centennial commemorations of Darwin's death.
Illustration right by George Scharf 1835: View looking south along Upper Gower Street. The Darwins’ rented house (no. 12) is in the distance on the left. The Porter’s Lodges at the entrance to the university are on the near left. University Street and Grafton Street are on the near right. Also on the near right is North London Hospital, also called University College Hospital. (Credit: English Heritage 00754062001).
A brief history of the Darwin Building by Professor Joe Cain
Page last modified on 18 aug 14 15:59