Horace Darwin

Sir Horace Darwin, KBE FRS (13 May 1851 – 22 September 1928), was an English engineer specializing in the design and manufacture of precision scientific instruments. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Horace Darwin

Horace Darwin.jpg
Photograph of Horace Darwin
Born13 May 1851
Died22 September 1928(1928-09-22) (aged 77)
SpouseEmma Cecilia "Ida" Farrer
ChildrenErasmus Darwin IV
Ruth Frances Darwin
Nora Barlow
Parent(s)Charles Darwin and Emma Darwin

Personal life and educationEdit

Diagram of an apparatus built by Horace Darwin (under the instruction of Karl Pearson) for measuring reaction time[1]

Darwin was born in Down House in 1851, the fifth son and ninth child of the British naturalist Charles Darwin and his wife Emma, and the youngest of their seven children who survived to adulthood.

He was educated at a private school in Woodbridge, Suffolk, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1874.[2]

In January 1880 Darwin and Emma Cecilia "Ida" Farrer married. She was the daughter of Thomas Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer and was styled Lady Ida Darwin after her marriage. They had one son and two daughters:

He is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge with his wife; his brother Sir Francis Darwin is interred in the same graveyard. His other brother Sir George Darwin is buried in the Trumpington Extension Cemetery, Cambridge.

His family home, "the Orchard", in Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, is now the site of Murray Edwards College.


In 1881 he co-founded the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company[4] with Albert George Dew-Smith.[5]: 53–54  Darwin led the company when the partnership ended in 1891.[6] He was Mayor of Cambridge between 1896 and 1897, became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1903 and was knighted in 1918.


  1. ^ Pearson, Karl (1902). "On the mathematical theory of errors of judgment, with special reference to the personal equation". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 198: 235–299.
  2. ^ "Darwin, Horace (DRWN868H)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ CWGC :: Casualty Details at www.cwgc.org
  4. ^ Obituary: Sir Horace Darwin, K.B.E., F.R.S. Nature 122, 580–581 (1928). https://doi.org/10.1038/122580a0
  5. ^ Mulhallen, Karen, ed. (2010). Blake in our time: Essays in honour of J. E. Bentley Jr. Toronto University Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-1442641518. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Albert George Dew-Smith". Grace's Guide to British Industrial History. Retrieved 14 January 2022.

External linksEdit