skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward Cresy   29 April [1853]1

Down, Farnborough, Kent,

April 29th.

My dear Sir,

I am uncommonly much obliged to you for your note which has been of the greatest use to me. From what you say, I will try the siphon plan, with 112 inch pipe, which was just what I wanted to know. What you say about a good pump being required to fill the siphon, has made me think of my hydropathic Douche Pump (not now used)2 which is a three inch lift pump and stands just in the right place. I will try a union joint (as you suggest) but at only one end, and will, when filled, plug it up, lower it in the tank to be filled, and then by a string and stick pull out the plug.

I am also very grateful for suggestion about the 9 inch ribs of Brickwork which shall be done. In your section, I see that the extra and upper half-brick work does not bond with the lower half-brick, and I suppose this is intentional, for Mr. Lastell3 told me before, that in strengthening a dome all over, the upper course was only cemented on the lower, not bonded into it. If I understand your section wrong, perhaps you will send me a line: if I do not hear, I shall understand that I am right.

The only point on which I am doubtful is the kind of hose: it will be seldom used, and I will call on Burgess & Key4 and see what they say about their canvas hose coated & lined for the douche, and used for watering gardens with pure water or liquid manure. This is only 9d per foot, 112 inch bore. I shd. grudge much more expense for my plan.

I hope sometime in the course of the summer (part of which however we shall be away)5 to persuade you to pay me a visit for a day or two.

With very many thanks for your valuable advice, | Sincerely yours, | C. Darwin.

At the same time I wrote to you I sent the same question to the Gardeners’ Chronicle6 but it now turns out through your kindness quite superfluously.


This and the letter to Edward Cresy, 15 May [1853], are dated by their relationship to CD’s letter to the Gardeners’ Chronicle, [c. 27 April 1853].
After taking the water-cure at James Manby Gully’s hydropathic establishment in Malvern in 1849, CD had a douche erected at Down House to enable him to continue the cold-water treatment at home (see Correspondence vol. 4, letters to Susan Darwin, [19 March 1849], and to W. D. Fox, 4 September [1850], n. 2).
The copy has ‘Lastell’, which is changed to ‘Laslet’ in the margin. The correct spelling is ‘Laslett’. Isaac Laslett was the local bricklayer and builder frequently employed by CD.
Burgess & Key, patent agents of 103 Newgate Street, London (Post Office London directory 1853).
The Darwins took a house in Eastbourne, Sussex, from 14 July to 4 August (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 5, Appendix I).
See letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, [c. 27 April 1853]. The letter to Cresy of the same date has not been located.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Discusses installation of watering system. Sent question to Gardeners’ Chronicle but, through EC’s kindness, superfluously.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edward Cresy, Jr
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 310
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1677,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5