Charles Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, England at his family home, the Mount. He was the fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor Robert Darwin and Susannah Darwin. The eight year old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817.
Charles was baptized in the Anglican Church, but he and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother. That July 1817 his mother died. Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father to treat the poor, before going to the University of Edinburgh Medical School with his brother Erasmus in October 1825.
He found lectures dull and surgery distressing, so neglected his studies. In his second year he joined a student natural history group and assisted Robert Edmund Grants investigation of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates and in March 1827 presented his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech.
The neglect of medical studies annoyed his father, who sent him to Christ College, Cambridge. Darwin began there in January 1828, but preferred riding and shooting to studying. His cousin William Fox introduced him to the popular craze for beetle collecting.
Charles Darwin married his cousin, Emma Wedgwood, on 29 January 1839 at Maer in an Anglican ceremony arranged to suit the Unitarians. At first they lived in Gower Street in London then in 1842 they moved to Downe in Kent.
Charles and Emma had 10 children: three died in fancy, and Annies death at the age of 10 had a devastating effect on her parents. Charles was a devoted father and uncommonly attentive to his children. Most of the surviving children went on to have distinguished careers as notable members of the prominent Darwin – Wedgwood family. Annie