CAMPAIGNERS are calling for the birthplace of one of Britain's most influential scientists to be turned into a museum commemorating his life.

Kensington House, the Llanbadoc birthplace of Alfred Russel Wallace is currently on the market for £525,000.

Wallace, born in 1823, was one of the leading evoutionary thinkers of the 19th century and is credited with co-discovering natural selection, alongside Charles Darwin.

But, while endless biographies have been written on Darwin, Wallace was largely forgotten.

Now Doctor George Beccaloni, who works at the Natural History Museum in London, has started the Wallace Fund to promote his name, and called the availability of Kensington House a "rare opportunity".

The three bedroom property is listed with estate agent Roberts & Co and Monmouthshire AM Nick Ramsay last week wrote to the National Trust asking it to purchase a "historic property".

He said: "There is little commemoration of Wallace's life", adding a museum would be a "fitting monument" to "one of the world's most foremost evolutionary thinkers".

Julie Raven, 46, bought the house 17 years ago for £200,000 and is moving to a smaller property.

She said: "I'm from Newport, but only found out about Wallace after seeing a plaque here and a bench across the road.

"A museum would be excellent for the area."

Dr Beccaloni studied Wallace at university, visiting his grave in Dorset. Shocked it had fallen into disrepair, he started the Wallace Fund, primarily to restore it.

In 11 years, he has secured £12,000 of funding, paying for various monuments.

“Everyone thinks of it (natural selection) as Darwin’s theory,” said Dr Beccaloni.

“But it was a joint discovery. Wallace was one of the most famous people in the world during his lifetime, but since he died in 1913, he has been forgotten by the general public.”

The idea of evolution of species has been around since the ancient Greeks and natural selection is now seen as one of its basic mechanisms.

Dr Beccaloni said Darwin developed a theory of natural selection but sat on it for 20 years, choosing not to publish his work.

In the meantime, Wallace carried out extensive fieldwork in south east Asia from 1854 to 1862.

Dr Beccaloni said: “Not knowing Darwin had written a theory he hadn’t published, Wallace sent him his own. Darwin was horrified that he would scoop him so it was agreed to publish their essays simultaneously in the Linnean Society journal in 1858.”

As part of his work, he identified the Wallace Line that divides Indonesia into two distinct parts.

In one, animals closely linked to Australia are common while in the other, species are of Asian origin.