A social media report on a History Museum site (
https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/john-edmonstone-the-man-who-taught-darwin-taxidermy.html) claims that an ex-slave named JOHN EDMONSTONE mentored young Charles Darwin, an Englishman, in his studies in biology. The report says Edmonstone was a Taxidermist. A taxidermist was a person who specialized in cleaning, preserving, and filling the skins of dead animals with special material to make them look as if they are still alive. The museum report states that Edmonstone helped Darwin to preserve his specimens during his ship journeys. Many slaves acquired specialized skills while serving their masters. Some were taught by their masters as was the case of Edmonstone.John Edmonstone was Guyanese born who was enslaved by his parents’ masters.The report states: “John Edmonstone was a Guyanese-born enslaved person and taxidermist who later became a taxidermy teacher in Edinburgh, Scotland. Edmonstone was best known as a mentor of young Charles Robert Darwin, who would become a renowned naturalist and geologist.
Edmonstone was born into slavery on a wood plantation in Demerara, British Guiana (now Guyana, South America). He was given the surname of his enslaver, Charles Edmonstone. In 1812, naturalist Charles Waterton visited the plantation where Edmonstone was enslaved. Waterton spent time teaching Edmonstone taxidermy.In 1817, Edmonstone relocated to Scotland with his master while serving the Edmonstone family at the Cardross Park estate, near Dumbarton. He would later gain his freedom and take employment in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1823, he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. Edmonstone taught taxidermy to students”.The report is used here for informational purposes only.