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Work underway to produce outline for plan for Darwin's birthplace

By Jordan Reynolds | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Work is underway to produce an outline for developing Charles Darwin's former home in Shrewsbury into a heritage centre.

The Mount

Talks have been held with the leading heritage architects who undertook an initial 2007 feasibility study at The Mount, and who know the building extremely well, with the intention of producing an outline specification.

A steering group was set up by former Shrewsbury mayor Jane Mackenzie earlier this year with a view to securing Darwin’s birthplace for the town. A consortium of interested parties is now working together to ensure that the 218-year-old building is preserved for the town.

Should the group be successful in its bid to take over the house, sympathetic renovations will be made, where necessary, transforming it into a vibrant, desirable area for locals and visitors from afar.

The site may also become an anchor institution for University Centre Shrewsbury, housing Life Sciences courses, appropriately linking with Darwin’s heritage, further increasing the interest from academic talent.

Councillor Mackenzie presented an update to Shrewsbury Town Council this week.

She told the council that the steering group have already had discussions with the architects and a meeting has been set up with Shropshire Council this week.

She added: "The group have already held initial discussions with the leading heritage architects who undertook the initial 2007 feasibility study, and who know the building extremely well, with the intention of producing an outline specification.

"We will be meeting with Shropshire Council colleagues later this week to agree on a collaborative approach towards acquiring and restoring the house.

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"If all goes according to plan, we are intending to hold an initial launch event during the DarwIN Festival 2019 where we will begin to develop our public engagement plan and probably seek to establish a friends of Mount House Group."

The Georgian house was built by Robert Darwin and Charles was born there in on February 12 1809. Robert Darwin died in the house in November 1848, followed by his unmarried daughters Catherine and Susan. Since there were no surviving members of the Darwin family in residence, the house was then put up for auction.

The Valuation Office Agency moved in in 2004.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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