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Charles Darwin 'spent more money on shoes than books'

Charles Darwin, famous for his "theory of evolution", led a lavish life while studying at Cambridge University, splurging money on expensive shoes than books, according to newly discovered records.

world Updated: Mar 23, 2009 14:51 IST

Charles Darwin, famous for his "theory of evolution", led a lavish life while studying at Cambridge University, splurging money on expensive shoes than books, according to newly discovered records.

Historians at Cambridge University have unearthed a series of six financial record books which reveal intriguing insights into the English naturalist's everyday college life.

According to the records, Darwin, who studied at Christ's College between 1828 and 1831, lived the life of a 19th century gentleman and paid people to carry out tasks such as stoking his fire and polishing his shoes.

He also paid extra to buy vegetables to supplement his college meals, the records show. In fact, Darwin's college bills amounted to 636.0.91/2 pounds over three years -- not including 14 pounds he paid for his BA degree in 1831 and 12 pounds he spent getting an MA in 1836.

The books also contain accounts for the barber, chimney-sweep, pharmacist, porter, brazier, glazier, hatter, laundress, linen-draper and painter, among others, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

A spokesman for the university said: "Together, they fill many gaps in our knowledge of Darwin's student days. The time he spent at Cambridge from 1828 to 1831 was one of the most significant periods of his life, but also one for which there is a comparative shortage of information.

"Thanks to the discovery, historians now have the exact date of Darwin's arrival at the university -- January 26th, 1828 -- as well as a huge assortment of details which will enable them to reconstruct his undergraduate life."