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Kent's History; Important people

In history, there have been many people, certainly more than you would expect, who have come from Kent and have major achievements that have made their names significant all over the world. For example, Charles Dickens, author of the well-known book ‘A Christmas Carol’, lived in Gad's Hill Place in Higham, Kent. Read on to find out more about famous people in Kent!

Charles Darwin:
Charles Darwin lived with his wife and children in Down House, a Georgian manor 15 miles south of London in the Kent countryside, for 40 years—from 1842 to 1882. Like all close-knit families, they did not just live in this house, they created a remarkable home there. Charles Darwin, a 19th century naturalist, explored the theory of natural selection. Natural selection explains how genetic traits of a species may change over time. This may lead to speciation, the formation of a distinct new species. Darwin knew his radical ideas would be met with stiff opposition. Even after 20 years of research, he was worried about how his theory of evolution would be received as it challenged widely held religious beliefs of the time. However, he overcame other hurdles after returning from his research on the HMS Beagle in 1836. Charles Darwin suffered for over 40 years from long bouts of vomiting, gut pain, headaches, severe tiredness, skin problems, and depression. Twenty doctors failed to treat him but it was a heart attack that caused his unfortunate death on the 19th of April, 1882.

Dame Kelly Holmes:
Holmes was born on 19th April 1970 in Pembury, Kent. She was raised by her mother Pam; her father having left before she was one year old. She was a middle-distance runner, who worked her way up all the way to the Olympics! Her original coach was Dave Arnold, but in 2002 she decided to leave him and team up with Margo Jennings. After winning the Olympics, she became the first British female athlete to win both the 800m (about the height of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world) and the 1500m (about half the height of Mount St. Helens), securing her place in history. She finished her illustrious career with twelve major championship medals from the Olympics, Worlds, Commonwealth Games and Europeans. Dame Kelly Holmes won two gold medals at the Athens Olympics in the 800m and 1500m to add to the 800m bronze she won in Sydney in 2000. She has three World Championship medals, two European Championships medals and three Commonwealth medals.

Anna Atkins:
Atkins was born on March 16th in Tonbridge, Kent. She was an English photographer and botanist noted for her early use of photography for scientific purposes. She was involved from an early age in the scientific activities that occupied her father, John-George Children. As a respected scientist, he was secretary of the Royal Society and was associated with the British Museum. In Anna Atkin’s early 20s, she made drawings for her father’s translation of Jean-Baptise de Monet Lamarck’s ‘Genera of Shells’ (1823), but her prime interest lay in the study of botany. Atkins learned of the photographic process which was then being invented. Her photographs aided biological understanding of plant anatomy, which was radical for its time. Atkin’s was the first person to use photographic images to illustrate a book.

In conclusion, there are many, many extraordinary, important, and famous people whose homes were in Kent. There are a ton more than just these 4; you can go and research even more to find out about these brilliant people! Just think about it - someone in the future could be writing about your achievements!

By Aishi, Year 7


Kelly Holmes - Greatest Britons

Anna Atkins | Cyanotype Prints, algae illustrations, botany

Anna Atkins's cyanotypes: the first book of photographs

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Tonbridge Grammar School.