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Charles Robert Darwin, FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871 he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.Darwin became internationally famous, and his pre-eminence as a scientist was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.
Cuthbert Brodrick FRIBA (1 December 1821 – 2 March 1905) was a British architect, whose most famous building is Leeds Town Hall.
Joshua Major (1786–1866) was an English landscape gardener and designer, born on 28 August 1786 in Owston, near Doncaster in South Yorkshire. His parents were Richard Major, an estate labourer, and Mary, née Bramma, and he was the youngest of their three children.Major founded a nursery garden at Knowsthorpe in Leeds and won awards at flower shows. His son Henry became a partner in the firm which became involved in landscape design. His firm was commissioned to landscape Hanover Square in Leeds in 1824 and Oakes Park in Sheffield in 1834.Major entered a competition to design some of the earliest public parks. He won the commission to design Peel Park in Salford and Queens Park and Philips Park in Manchester. They were in densely populated areas and financed by public subscription. Parks designed by Major has areas for sport, recreation and walking.Major wrote books on gardening and contributed to the Gardeners' Magazine. He was involved in the formation of the first Sunday school in Leeds. He died in Leeds at the age of 79 in January 1866.