Changing times as shown by this postcard.
All Saints Church is now the home of the Natural History Museum.
Little has changed on the outside of the building apart from some large trees which cast shadows
in the summer months, but the inside is a complete surprise to the unknowing visitor.
When I first visited the Museum I was struck by the intriguing placement of this huge jaw bone, and the full size shark suspended above the site where the original altar would have been. Attitudes have certainly changed over the hundred and fifty years since the uproar caused by the publication of Darwin's Origin Of the Species in 1859. A local physician at Colchester Hospital and contemporary of Darwin, Charles Robert Bree fiercely opposed Darwin's ideas and is recorded as saying
"Mr Darwin's mind is warped by the necessity of considering everything in human structure as the product of a theory which has never been proved... a theory which is but a cold unsound unphilosophical degrading system of assumed probabilities".
However Darwin's book sold 1,250 copies before lunch time on the first day of publication. It remains in print and has had a profound impact on how we think about our origins. Time may have forgotten Dr Bree but Darwin's ideas are as alive now as when first presented. I wonder how shocked these Victorians would be that a hundred years after the book was published a church building would become home to a vast fossil collection!
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