After wandering up through Hoxton to Haggerston, we got back on the Tube and went up to the rather posh Hampstead to visit the house of one of my all-time favourite poets, John Keats. Hampstead is absolutely beautiful, and full of quaint little side streets. We were quite enchanted, despite the rain.
We came out of a rather beautiful looking underground station onto the main street and walked to the site, munching on some cold chicken and mushroom pasties (it was 2 o'clock and we were starving!)
|The stunning exterior tiling of Hampstead underground station|
|Probably one of the most beautiful conservatory-type-things ever.|
As you can probably tell from the photographs, the weather was absolutely atrocious. It didn't seem to know whether it was coming or going.
Finally we found the road to Keats place! I decided it was time to have a cheeky pose by it, and managed to keep my excitement hidden from the camera...
The house itself was beautiful. It was originally known as Wentworth Place, and was built between 1815 and 1816 as a pair of semi-detached houses, but made to look like one building. John Keats lived in Wentworth Place between December 1818 and September 1820 with his friend, the poet Charles Brown. Keats met and fell head over heels with Fanny Brawne, a seamstress, who lived in the other half of the house. In 1819, he wrote the majority of his most famous poetry, many inspired by Fanny, including the likes of La Belle Dame sans Merci, Ode on a Grecian Urn, and Ode to a Nightingale. Keats contracted tuberculosis eventually departing to Italy in 1820. He died aged 25 on 23rd February 1821.
The red plaque above the front door was erected by the Royal Society of Arts in 1895. This is one of 35, less than half of which have survived now, and have now been replaced by blue plaques.
Behind me is Keats' parlour, where he composed many of his poems. The room above this, that you can't see from the photograph, is his bedroom.
It was a pretty long day, and after a little look around Camden, we headed over to High Street Kensington to grab a bite to eat at the Whole Foods market, which is housed in the magnificent Barkers Building:
Then it was to the Albert Hall to see Kooza, the new Cirque du Soleil production, which was brilliant (and terrifying - I could hardly watch some of it!) After the miles of walking, the cold and the rain, I slept like a log through the night.
And for your pleasure, here are two poems by John Keats, La Belle Dame sans Merci and Ode toa Nightlingale, read by Ben Whishaw, who played Keats in the film Bright Star: