Darwin, Leonard, 1850-1943Alternative names
Leonard Darwin was born on 15 January 1850, fourth son of the naturalist Charles Darwin. He joined the Royal Engineers as a soldier in 1871 and became a Major in 1890, teaching at the School of Military Engineering at Chatham from 1877 to 1882. Being interested in various branches of science, he had been commissioned to carry out astronomical observations on the Transit of Venus expeditions of 1874 and 1882, and also to observe solar eclipses in distant countries. Darwin went on to serve in the Ministry of War, Intelligence Division, from 1885 to 1890. He later became a liberal-unionist Member of Parliament for the town of Lichfield in Staffordshire from 1892 to 1895.
In 1894, Darwin became Honorary Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, a post he held for fifteen years. He went on to serve as President of the Society between 1908 and 1911. He married twice but had no children. He died in 1943.
From the guide to the Leonard Darwin collection, 1909-1931, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)