News

THOMAS CROMWELL’S LONDON – 14 February 2015

Many of the London locations featured in Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies can still be identified – find out more on the Londonist website. In addition, a well illustrated piece focusing on Sutton House in East London, home to Rafe Sadler, is available on That’s how the light gets in.

DYLAN THOMAS – 9 November 2013

A recent article in the Telegraph provides information for Thomas fans looking to discover more about his life in Wales in advance of next year’s celebrations around the centenary of his birth. The Dylan Thomas 100 website will be posting more on this topic over the coming months.

CHARLES CAUSLEY TRUST NEWS – 29 June 2013

The Charles Causley Trust has been awarded two grants recently which will allow for repairs to be carried out on his former home in Launceston. The house is being turned into a writers’ retreat and some of the funding will be used to support a writer in residency programme. Read more on the Charles Causley Trust’s own website.

LADY CHATTERLY’S HOUSE – 21 June 2013

Literary locations with links to D H Lawrence, Seamus Heaney, Jane Austen, Roald Dahl, George Meredith, Mary Shelley and Daphne Du Maurier all get a mention in yesterday’s article from the Daily Telegraph property section.

THRUSHCROSS GRANGE – 21 June 2013

A house which Emily Bronte may have used as a model for the home of Edgar Linton in Wuthering Heights is up for sale. Some scholars are of the opinion that it was an inspiration for the Heights itself, although at least two alternative locations for that farm have been put forward at various times. The area also has a non-Bronte literary connection: parts of the film of The Railway Children were shot on the nearby Keighley and Worth Valley steam railway.

LOCATING BATHSHEBA EVERDENE – 5 June 2013

An article in today’s Daily Telegraph about Bloxham Manor, Dorset, identifies it as the house used as Weatherbury Farm in the 1967 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. The piece also includes a snippet of information that was new to me, which is that the house Hardy actually had in mind when writing the book was Waterston Manor, about nine miles from Bloxworth. There are more pictures of Waterston Manor on the Geograph website.

ELIZABETH GASKELL’S HOUSE TO OPEN NEXT YEAR – 13 February 2013

The Manchester home of the Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell which has been empty for several years is being restored. If all goes according to plan the house, an 1830s villa close to the centre of Manchester and Gaskell’s home during the writing of Cranford, will be opening to the public in the summer of 2014.

JAMES BOND FILM LOCATIONS AROUND BRITAIN – 11 February 2013

A gallery of eighteen pictures on the Telegraph website. As the captions make clear the locations have been associated with a number other films besides the Bond series.

LONDON IN FICTION – 3 August 2012

An article on the AbeBooks blog, ‘A Literary Tour of London’, includes some useful comments below the line, among which I found a mention of the excellent London Fictions website which I hadn’t come across until now. I’ve also added a link on the Literary Places homepage and shall be returning for a longer look.

WILLIAM MORRIS GALLERY, WALTHAMSTOW – 21 July 2012

The William Morris Gallery at the former Water House, Walthamstow, re-opens to the public on 2 August 2012. Water House was Morris’s family home between 1848 and 1856 and is a substantial Grade II* listed Georgian building dating from around 1750. This major redevelopment is costing £5 million and will make it possible for more of the outstanding collection of textiles, wallpapers, ceramics, glass, furniture, stained glass, books and fine art to be on display. The museum would welcome further donations of any size in support of the project and these can be made via PayPal at the Friends of the William Morris Gallery website.

APSLEY CHERRY-GARRARD LETTERS GO ON SALE AT CHRISTIE’S – 19 July 2012

Twenty-seven letters from the youngest member of Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic team are being offered for sale by Christie’s on 9 October. The letters, which had been in the hands of a family member, were sent by Apsley Cherry-Garrard to his mother and cover the whole span of the expedition, from its departure in June 1910 to the return of the survivors to New Zealand in February 1913.

‘WRITING BRITAIN’ AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY – 10 May 2012

A new exhibition at the British Library – ‘Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands’ – will be running from 11 May – 25 September 2012. The oldest manuscript in the exhibition will be the 10th Century Exeter Book with the poem ‘The Seafarer’, on loan from the Exeter Cathedral Library (see the Literary Places homepage for some background on this). If you can’t attend you can still take part by helping to create an online literary map of the ‘British and Irish Isles’, with literary works relating to specific places. The BBC website has a good audio slideshow which suggests the project will be of interest to anybody who enjoys linking literature with landscapes.

COLERIDGE MEMORIAL IN OTTERY ST MARY – 21 March 2012

To commemorate Ottery St Mary’s native son, the Coleridge Memorial Project is having ‘Kubla Khan’ engraved onto a series of granite blocks, to be installed alongside a new path to the Kings School. At nearly 70m long this seems like a splendidly imaginative way to commemorate the poet, particularly as Coleridge’s father was at one time headmaster of King’s, and Coleridge himself briefly attended the school.

RONALD DUNCAN’S POETRY ON REISSUED CD – 11 March 2012

A BBC Radiophonic Workshop album by David Cain, ‘The Seasons’, has been reissued by Trunk Records. The original album was made in 1969 for the BBC Schools Radio Series and has since become a collector’s item. Unfortunately the voice on the CD is not Duncan’s – the poems are read by a broadcaster, Derek Bowskill, in a classic BBC manner rather at odds with the content – and David Cain, the composer, had no contact with him. In many ways it’s a surprising choice for a reissue, but perhaps it will bring Duncan’s work more of the attention it deserves.The booklet which comes with the CD contains the texts of sixteen short poems, only two of which were included in Duncan’s ‘Collected’, as well as background material, an interview with David Cain, and two reproductions of paintings created as extras for the original album.

NEW BLUE PLAQUES  – 7 March 2012

Two new blue plaques have been placed on the London homes of Jean Rhys and Elizabeth Bowen.

PLYMOUTH HISTORY OF CAPTAIN ROBERT FALCON SCOTT – 19 January 2012

A short video on the BBC news website which includes a visit to Outlands in Plymouth where Scott lived as a boy.

See also my post of 13/10/2008 with a photo of Scott’s expedition flag and commemorative plaque in Exeter Cathedral.

JOHN FOWLES’ HOUSE : A PHOTO GALLERY – 1 January 2012

Just found these photos of Belmont House in Lyme Regis taken in 2010 (along with a few older ones) on an excellent website called ‘Past Remains’. Most of the places covered are in East Devon and West Dorset and the site looks well worth exploring.

BRONTË CHURCH AND COUNTRYSIDE UNDER THREAT – 1 January 2012

The roof of St Michael’s church in Haworth is leaking badly in several places, the Old School Room where Charlotte once taught is falling into disrepair and the moorland hills where the sisters walked are under threat from housing developments…

CHARLES DICKENS WALKS – 21 December 2011

The Guardian has been running a series on walks inspired by Dickens’ novels – this one is based on David Copperfield. On the righthand side of the webpage there are links to two others.

‘WUTHERING HEIGHTS’ RESTORED – 16 December 2011

The roofless shell of Top Withens, Yorkshire, an abandoned farm believed to be the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s novel, has recently undergone maintenance work to prevent further deterioration. The article includes a link to directions for a walk.

CAPTAIN SCOTT’S ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION DIARIES – 06 December 2011

The Cambridge University Polar Museum is staging an exhibition of artefacts from Scott’s last expedition. In addition to Scott’s own journal the exhibition includes one kept by Henry Robertson Bowers which has rarely been put on display. ‘These Rough Notes: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition’ will be open until 5 May 2012.

ROYAL ALBERT MEMORIAL MUSEUM REOPENING IN EXETER – 05 December 2011

Exeter’s much-missed museum finally reopens on 15 December after its four-year overhaul – it closed on 1 December 2007 and the work was originally scheduled to take three years.

WORDSWORTH AT ALLAN BANK – 05 December 2011

Following restorations after a fire at Allan Bank in March of this year, the National Trust is opening the house to the public. It will be the fourth Wordsworth home in the Lake District – Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s birthplace at Cockermouth and Rydal Mount already admit visitors.

KEATS’ HAMPSTEAD HOUSE TO LET – 23 October 2011

A property at 46 Well Walk, Hampstead, home for a short while to John Keats and his brothers, George and Tom, is currently available to rent. At £2,950 per week it’s presumably a lot more desirable today than it was when the three orphaned young men moved there from Cheapside in April 1817.

NEWSTEAD ABBEY OPENING HOURS REDUCED – 09 October 2011

According to an article on the BBC News website, Nottingham City Council have recently reduced opening hours to the ancestral home of Lord Byron because of budget cuts. Newstead Abbey has also been included by the New York-based World Monuments Watch on a list of the world’s most threatened cultural heritage sites.

ROALD DAHL’S WRITING SHED – 13 September 2011

Sophie Dahl is leading a fund-raising campaign to spend half a million pounds restoring and relocating the famous hut in which her grandfather Roald Dahl penned some of his best-loved children’s classics.

See also an article about writers’ workplaces in the Guardian today, prompted by the above announcement.

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE’S COTTAGE – 09 September 2011

An article on the Guardian website: The National Trust and The Friends of Coleridge have completed a project of restoration work at Coleridge’s cottage at Nether Stowey.

FLICKR LITERARY BRITAIN AND IRELAND GROUP – 11 February 2011

The group pool now contains over 3000 literary-related photos – it’s great for browsing and also has a search facility for finding images relating to a specific author or location.

A separate group dedicated to Literary Scotland is also well under way with over 1500 pictures posted so far.

WRITERS’ HOUSES – 27 November 2010

A new US-based website, Writers’ Houses, is aiming to document all writers’ houses open to the public in the world. The current layout seems a bit confusing but the information should be useful if the site develops as planned.

JOHN FOWLES’ HOUSE – LYME REGIS – 14 November 2010

The Victorian Society has an article on the Landmark Trust’s plans for converting John Fowles’ home, Belmont House, in Lyme Regis, into a holiday property. According to the report the Trust has applied to West Dorset District Council for permission to demolish an entire Victorian wing of the building in order to return it to its eighteenth-century form. If they go ahead with this it will mean that the house, where Fowles wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman, will be significantly altered from the way it was when he lived in it and will lose an important part of its history.

T. S. ELIOT’S IDENTICAL TWIN DAUGHTERS – 14 November 2010

This story in today’s Telegraph isn’t, strictly speaking, about Literary Places, though it does mention Bath, Bristol and Winchester in passing. However, it’s much too weird to resist and I can see definite possibilities for a film script.

TRACKING DOWN LITERARY SOCIETIES – 12 November 2010

The Alliance of Literary Societies lists 125 groups on its website; an eclectic mix ranging from Francis Bacon to Angela Thirkell, and covering some interesting ground in between. There are links to members’ websites, plus postal addresses for groups which aren’t currently online.