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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. C. Marshall   19 September 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Sep. 19. 76

Dear Marshall

I want some professional assistance in architecture, on a very small scale, if you are inclined to undertake the work. I wish to build this autumn, so as to be dry by early next Summer, a billiard room (25 x 21 ft) attached to my house with a bedroom & dressing room above.1 If you are willing to undertake this little work, will you be so kind as to come down here as soon as you can, to see the place etc

I remain | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Horace does not know your London address & thinks you may be in the Lakes.2

As the winter is coming on there is no time to lose.


CD evidently wanted the addition partly for his son, Francis Darwin, who was going to move back to Down House, following the death of his wife, Amy Darwin (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 17 September [1876]).
Marshall was a friend of CD’s son Horace Darwin; the two were students at Trinity College, Cambridge, at the same time (Freeman 1978). His family home was Derwent Island, Keswick, in the Lake District (Alum. Cantab.).


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Asks WCM to design additional rooms for Down House.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Cecil (Bill) Marshall
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.499)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10609,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24