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Darwin Correspondence Project

To the Traffic Manager, South Eastern Railway   [c. September 1868]1


As I much wish to avoid the Trouble & expence of putting the affair into my Sollicitors Hands, which I must do next week.2 I hope you will be so good as at once investigate the loss of the two Boxes, about which my son called on you, on Aug __th.— The Receipt from the S. W. Railway, .3 will show the [size] of the B & date of Despatching. I enclose the address &c;

I had previously written on Aug. 22d & despatched to the Traffic manager of the S.E. Railway Charg Cross to Enquire, but no notice was taken of my letter.—4

As a small Box, despatched at the sam frm Yarmth with the 2 lost Boxes was was safely delivered in London on Aug. 19th or 20th, it is proable, that the S., W. Railway has not caused this loss.—

My servant who will deliver this letter, will if you think fit go to the Bricklayers Arms, or to Nine Elms or to S. W. Railway5 or take any other step which you may advise, in order to trace my lost boxes.

Hoping for your attention, I remain | Sir |

Your obedien servn | Ch. Dar

To the Traffic mnr


The date is established by CD’s reference to an earlier letter of 22 August, and by the Darwins’ stay on the Isle of Wight in the summer of 1868; Yarmouth is on the Isle of Wight (see n. 5, below).
No correspondence on this matter with CD’s solicitor, William Mackmurdo Hacon, has been found.
CD refers to the London and South Western Railway.
CD’s letter of 22 August 1868 to the South Eastern Railway has not been found.
The Darwins stayed on the Isle of Wight from 17 July to 20 August 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). The boxes were probably transported to London by the London and South Western Railway, which owned steamers running between Yarmouth (Isle of Wight) and Southampton, and then transferred to the South Eastern Railway. Nine Elms was the London goods depot of the London and South Western railway. The Bricklayers’ Arms was a London goods depot of the South Eastern Railway; the South Eastern included the line to Orpington, the closest station to Down. See Bradshaw’s railway guide 1868.


Bradshaw’s railway guide: Bradshaw’s railway almanack, directory, shareholders’ guide, and manual. London: W. J. Adams. Manchester: Bradshaw & Blacklock. 1848–62. Bradshaw’s railway manual, shareholders’ guide, and official directory. London: W. J. Adams. Manchester: Bradshaw & Blacklock. 1863–1923.


Wishes correspondent to investigate immediately the loss of two boxes in transit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
South Eastern Railway
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 96: 49
Physical description
AdraftS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6341,” accessed on 31 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16