Randal Keynes

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Randal Keynes with J C Lyell's Fancy Pigeon book from Darwin's own library.

Randal Keynes and Darwin's Pigeons what could be the connection?

For those of you involved with Charles Darwin projects this question needs no explanation as you will know he is the great great grandson of Charles Darwin, the author of 'Annie's box' (his book about one of Darwin's daughters who died aged 10 years old), he has helped and advised on numerous Darwin projects including the English Heritage recent refit [February 2009] of Down House in Kent, the Darwin family home for 40 years, in readiness to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of 'Origin of Species'.

His connection to the pigeons is through the great interest and enthusiasm he has in helping to unravel the pigeon studies Charles Darwin carried out at Down. He has helped liaise between Graham Giddings of the U.K.National Pigeon Association, Jeremy Bristow from the BBC and also the makers of a full length feature film called 'Creation' in which Darwin's life story has been recreated with his pigeon studies having at least a couple of scenes including a pub scene and a loft scene which I hope will make it past the cutting room floor.

Randal has been most helpful to myself and has introduced me to others seeking help and advice from a present day pigeon man's point of view.
I was particularly pleased that Randal travelled all the way from London to Blackpool in January 2009 to the British Homing World Show of the Year to see the breeds Darwin worked with. I know Randal was very happy to see in person the Almond Tumblers (English Short Faced Tumblers), Dragoons, Jacobins, Runts, Pouters and Scandaroons, although he had seen them in books it is difficult to get a feel of size in comparison to each breed until you actually see them.

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Randal Keynes visits Blackpool Show January 2009.
John Ross shows him the Darwin breeds on display after judging.

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Randal Keynes with Dragoon pigeon Blackpool 2009.

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Randal Keynes and Best Fancy Pigeon row, Blackpool January 2009.

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Randal Keynes with Almond Tumbler
Blackpool January 2009.

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Randal Keynes and John Ross during meeting with the BBC and National Pigeon Association at Down House August 2008.

Randal Keynes with Jeremy Bristow BBC Producer at
Down House meeting August 2008