The cupboard under Charles Darwin’s stairs

This is the cupboard under the stairs in Down House where Charles Darwin stored the evidence of his explosive theory for nearly two decades because he didn’t want people to doubt God.

This is the cupboard under the stairs where he hid his true genius until, one day in June 1858, a young scientist with a similar idea scared him into finally going public.

This is the cupboard under the stairs where his world-changing gift might have been forgotten if he’d let himself continue to fear it.

Cupboard at Down House

He studied barnacles. He dissected pigeons. He planted seeds. Anything to avoid unleashing his true gift to the world.

His papers were hidden in an evelope marked “Only to be opened in the event of my death.”

The cupboard was also filled with croquet equipment, parasols, and other lawn toys.

In 1896, after the death of his widow Emma, the original manuscripts of his seminal On the Origin of Species were discovered in this cupboard. They had his children’s doodles on them. They had used the papers as scrap.