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Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy's Grave | by Zoonie
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Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy's Grave

Our New Years Day adventure!

 

Apologies for *terrible* pictures.

 

Fitzroy:

Creator (basically) of the Meteorological Office, and most famously, Captain of "The Beagle" who requested a non-naval interesting person to come along and be his companion, who was of course, Charles Darwin.

 

His Grave is in South Norwood, South London (close to Crystal Palace / Gypsy hill should you want to visit - on the 249 bus route (and, it turns out, about 20 minutes from our flat). He's also buried on consecrated ground, which is fairly good for a man who committed suicide. I'm sure being a God fearing man, he was sure of the consequences of his actions. At least they stood by him in death.

 

He was in some respects, apparently not the most likeable of people, being a bit of a screw up. But he was well respected by his crew, who protected him from his own depression-centred blackouts, not simply out of loyalty, but because he was a good Captain. The story of his life post-Beagle is almost heartbreaking, and I would recommend to you "Evolution's Captain", by Peter Nichols, as well as the slightly Hornblowerish "this thing of Darkness" by the late Harry Thompson.

 

Harry Thompson told a tale which summed up so much about poor old Fitzroy. In researching for his novelisation of the Beagle / post-Beagle story, he went to er... a venerable library which could have been the Bodleian (I'll look it up and edit) to read the Fitroy volume of "The Voyages of the Beagle" (which was of course originally a 2-volume set). When he got it out to read, the pages were still un-cut, which meant that since printing, *not a single person* had read that first edition copy of Fitzroy's verbose but well meaning documentary.

 

He was a fascinating man, and flawed, certainly. Thankfully he's now getting more of the recognition he deserves, particularly on the meteorological front.

 

So now, I have paid my respects. Albeit, in approx 5 minutes, with no solemnity, grabbing a secon d to take photos whilst trying to make sure the kids don't run off and get run over!

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Taken on January 1, 2009