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House Built by Evolutionary Theorist Alfred Russel Wallace Up for Sale--£1.5 Million

Wallace, who came up with the concept of evolution by natural selection independently of Charles Darwin, had the house built in 1872 in Grays, England. The naturalist is said to have lived in the house for about four years
Wallace House



Nature News Blog/Daniel Cressey

The house built by Alfred Russel Wallace after he returned from his exotic travels is about to come on the market.

Wallace – who came up with the concept of evolution by natural selection independently of Charles Darwin and prompted Darwin to publish his own work – had the house built in 1872 in Grays, UK, according to the website outlining the sale. Wallace’s pioneering continued in this construction. The house, which he named ‘The Dell’ because it sat in a pit, was one of the first buildings in the United Kingdom made out of moulded concrete. The house is situated on the north of the Thames, east of London.

According to the Wallace Fund, which has a short history of the house online, the naturalist only lived in the house for about four years.

This year marks 100 years since the death of Wallace and a surge in interest in a man often consigned by history to a Darwinian footnote. In Nature recently, Harvard biologist Andrew Berry wrote that “Alfred Russel Wallace is too often remembered as little more than Charles Darwin’s goad. … Sidekick status does Wallace an injustice. He was a visionary scientist in his own right, a daring explorer and a passionate socialist.”

In a reappraisal of Wallace’s book ‘The Malay Archipelago’, also in Nature, the American nature writer David Quammen calls him “arguably the greatest field biologist of the nineteenth century”. Wallace’s letters have been made available online earlier this year.

If you fancy owning his old house, estate agents Stanley Hicks & Son suggest a guide price of £1.5 million.

This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature and the Nature News Blog. The article was first published on April 22, 2013.

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