Wallace in Neath

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace Trail

The impoverished circumstances of Wallace's family meant that he was unable to continue in formal education and had to find work at a young age. After a variety of jobs in London and Hertford, Wallace joined his brother William to work as a surveyor in Neath in 1841.

However there was not always enough work for both brothers and Wallace found himself with a lot of spare time that he used to further his self education and scientific pursuits.

Although he only spent five years in the Vale of Neath it was an important time and one he believed to be the turning point in his life. In fact Wallace himself, suggested that his stay in Neath led to the development of his fascination and knowledge of nature and the natural world.

Vale of Neath Copyright The A. R. Wallace Memorial fund

Wallace wrote in his autobiography 'My Life'

 'I cannot call to mind a single valley that in the same extent of country comprises so much beautiful and picturesque scenery, and so many interesting special features, as the Vale of Neath'.

Natural History Museum