Wallace House. is named after Alfred Russel Wallace OM, FRS (January 1823 – November 1913), British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist, who was born in the Welsh village of Llanbadoc in Monmouthshire, and in 1828 moved to Hertford where his mother had been raised in a middle class, well respected family.
Alfred was educated at Hertford ..click for moreGrammar School (now Richard Hale school) where, somewhat bizarrely, there was no science teaching at all, a rather serious omission for a boy who would go on to discover the theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin did.
After his formal education, Wallace embarked on a life of travel and exploration, pursuing his interests in the evolution of the natural world inspired by the chronicles of earlier travelling naturalists including Alexander von Humboldt, William Edwards, and notably Charles Darwin; it was published by The Royal Society , along with Darwin’s own theory, in the same year.
Alfred Russel Wallace’s life and work as one of the greatest tropical naturalists of his time, is commemorated in Hertford by the Blue Plaque on Wallace House in St. Andrew Street.
Although at the time Darwin received by far the greater recognition, he once famously answered a question on the theory of evolution with the accolade “you should ask Wallace”.