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London's Literary Associations page 2

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Abandoning surgery for literature, he went to lodgings in Well Walk, Hampstead, and later to the house of a friend at Wentworth Place, now known as Lawn Bank, in John Street, since renamed Keats Grove. There he was next door to the Fanny Brawne of his hectic romance. For a time he was in lodgings in Wesleyan Place, Kentish Town, and stayed with Leigh Hunt in Mortimer Street, near by, before returning to Wentworth Place, from which he set out on the last fatal journey to Rome. Lawn Bank is now a Keats memorial museum.

Leigh Hunt was a Londoner whose landmarks were frequently shifting. He was born at Southgate, which time has since made suburban, and lived in various parts of the metropolis, his best-remembered homes being the Vale of Health, Hampstead, 4 (now 10) Upper Cheyne Row, 32 Edwardes Square, Kensington, and 7 Cornwall Road (now 16 Rowan Road), Hammersmith. He died while visiting a friend at Putney, and is buried at Kensal Green.

More casual were the London associations of his greater poet-friends Byron and Shelley, though Lord Byron was by birth a Londoner, having been born at 16 (now 24) Holies Street, Cavendish Square, and baptised in Marylebone parish church. For a year or so he lived at 4 Bennet Street, St. James's, and for about the same period his married life endured at 13 Piccadilly Terrace, between Park Lane and Hamilton Place, now part of Piccadilly, rebuilt and renumbered. Shelley was but a visitor to London: at 15 Poland Street, Soho, after his expulsion from Oxford; at 23 Chapel (now Aldford) Street, Park Lane; at an hotel in Albemarle Street, and at 26 Marchmont Street, Bloomsbury.

More than with any other writer there may be said to be two Londons in the case of Charles Dickens - the London that was the environment to which so many of his characters belonged or the background against which they were set, and the London which was for many years his more particularly personal environment. When as a boy of nine he came from Chatham to London the family lived in Bayham Street. Camden Town, and other places. When his father was debtor in the Marshalsea, Charles Dickens lodged in Lant Street, Southwark, whence he went to his brief work in a blacking factory at Hungerford Market (now Charing Cross).

When his father left the Marshalsea the family went to 13 Johnston Street, Somers Town - now happily made the " David Copperfield Library " for the small children of a dingy district. From there Dickens went for a time to school at Wellington Academy in the Hampstead Road. At various times he lodged in Cleveland Street, Fitzroy Square; Fitzroy Street; 18 Bentinck Street, Cavendish Square; Buckingham Street, Strand, and at Fulham. After his marriage he went first to chambers in Furnival's Inn, Holborn, and then to 48 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury - which is now the headquarters of the Dickens Fellowship and a museum of Dickensiana. It was there that he completed " Pick wick " and attained to fame Thence he moved to 1 Devonshire Terrace, Maryle-bone Road, and then to Tavistock House, Tavistock Square, after which he went to Gad's Hill and ceased to be a resident Londoner, though London claimed him finally, and he rests in Westminster Abbey.

As a small boy Thackeray stayed at Chiswick, and went to a school on Chiswick Mall before passing on to the Charterhouse. When entered as a student at the Middle Temple he lived at i Hare Court, and subsequently at 2 Brick Court (where Goldsmith died) and 10 Crown Office Row. For a time he stayed at 18 Albion Terrace, Marble Arch, and went thence to 13 Great Coram Street, Bloomsbury. Later he lodged in Jermyn Street, and at 88 St. James's Street, from which he removed to 13 (now 16) Young Street, Kensington, thence to 36 Onslow Square, Brompton, and then to a more substantial house which he had built at 2 Palace Green. Kensington, where he died.

A Scotsman who became one of the acknowledged literary giants of nineteenth century-London was Thomas Carlyle. He and his wife first lodged at 33 Ampton Road, Gray's Inn Road, but were recalled to Scotland by the death of Car-lyle's father. Two years later they returned to London, and settled in that house which was to be their lifelong home, 5 (now 24) Cheyne Row, Chelsea – one

of the few' literary landmarks which London has chosen to preserve and tend as a memorial of its famous occupant.

Robert Browning was born at Hanover Cottage, Southampton Street, Camberwell, and lived there until, when he was about 22, his family removed to Hatcham. It was in her home at 50 Wimpole Street that he met Elizabeth Barrett, and at Mary-lebone Church that their runaway marriage took place. After his wife's death in Florence, Robert made London once more his home, and for quarter of a century lived at 19 Warwick Crescent, Pad-dington, overlooking the islanded canal junction which he dubbed "Venice in London." He had removed to 29 De Vere Gardens, Kensington, about a couple of years before his death while on a visit to Venice. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

At 38 Charlotte Street (now Hallam Street), Portland Place, were born in four successive years four writers any one of whom might have made the house notable, and two of whom make the spot doubly remarkable as a landmark; they were Maria Francesca, Dante Gabriel, William Michael and Christina Rossetti. D. G. Rossetti, who lived for some years at 14 Chatham Place, Blackfriars Bridge - a place that has since disappeared - is chiefly associated with Tudor House, or Queen's House, 16 C h e y n e Walk, Chelsea - a house of multiple literary memories, for his co-tenants for varying periods were his brother, Algernon Charles Swinburne and George Meredith. Meredith soon moved into Surrey, where his landmarks are mostly to be sought; Swinburne later joined with Theodore Watts (afterwards Watts-Dunton), and together they made of the Pines, Putney Hill, a fresh house of fame.

This has been but to glance at some notable literary periods, and a few of the outstanding figures of those periods who may be said to provide landmarks in looking over the past five centuries - and each century alone would really provide more than as much material again.

There is William Camden, the antiquarian, who has himself given antiquarian interest to the Old Bailey as his birthplace; Christopher Marlowe, slain in a brawl at Deptford; John Donne, born in the parish of S. Olave, Bread Street, and buried in S. Paul's Cathedral, of which he was Dean; Robert Herrick, a golden singer, son of a goldsmith in Cheap-side; Daniel Defoe, born in Stoke Newington, and buried in Bunhill Fields; Samuel Richardson, " the little printer " and great novelist, of Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, and North End, Fulham, who is buried in S. Bride's, Fleet Street; Horace Walpole, who was born and died most appropriately in the West End, and set up his celebrated book-lovers' press at Strawberry Hill; Thomas Hood, born in the Poultry, had several London homes before his last one at Devonshire Lodge, Finchley Road, where he died; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who spent his last eighteen years at Highgate, and is buried in the crypt of the chapel of Highgate Grammar School; William Hazlitt, who had various London dwellings before those lodgings in Frith Street, Soho, where he died; John Ruskin was born at 54 Hunter Street, Bloomsbury, and lived for many years at 163 Denmark Hill; George Eliot had several London homes before moving to 4 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, where she died after less than three weeks' residence.

William Blake, but for a lapse of three years into Sussex, had life-long associations with London, being born at 28 Broad Street, Golden Square, lodging after marriage at 23 Green Street, Leicester Square; his other residences were Lambeth, 17 South Molton Street, 3 Fountain Court, Strand. Blake died at the last-mentioned and is buried in Bunhill Fields.

And so the story of London's literary associations might be continued well-nigh indefinitely.

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