The First Herschel-Darwin Dinner Dinner

posted: 583 days ago, on Thursday, 2016 Jun 16 at 08:31
tags: astronomy, history, SAAO, events.

Chris de Coning, Director of the ASSA Historical Section, came up with the brilliant idea to call together a gathering of like-minded individuals, to celebrate the meeting of two of the 19th centuries most brilliant minds - John Herschel and Charles Darwin.

The two met for dinner while Darwin was on his famous Beagle voyage; the expedition docked in Cape Town to check the ship's chronometers at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope. Dinner was held at the Herschel home, Feldhausen. This no longer exists, but Chris identified an even better venue: 18 Kloof Street.

In 1821, the first His Majesty's Astronomer, Fearon Fallows, stayed at Number 18, Kloof Street, while making arrangements for the Royal Observatory to be built. The building now houses a charming Italian restaurant, Bardelli's. Our curious party met there on Wednesday for a lovely get-together.

Chris de Coning kicked off the informal talks with a brief overview of Fallows' story. Prof Ian Glass shared some impressions of Herschel and Darwin. And Ronnie Glass (ASSA Hon. Auditor) shared a few choice Darwin Awards.

The guests were:

Heather Sessions, Richard Sessions, Peta Cramb, Peter Cramb, Chris de Coning, Wendy de Coning, Micah de Villiers, Jannie Niejeboer, Eddie Niejeboer, Ian Glass, Hettie Glass, Ilana Barling, Ronnie Glass, Prof Keith Gottshalk, and myself.

The Second Herschel-Darwin Dinner Dinner will be held on Thursday, 2017 June 15. Get in touch to book your spot.

(top-left) Simon van der Stel Foundation plaque. (top-right) Entrance to Bardelli's. (centre) Chris de Coning welcoming everyone. (right) Prof Ian Glass. (bottom-left) Ronnie Glass.

nothing more to see. please move along.