I loved English, history and RE lessons when I was in school. I wasn't so good at subjects like Domestic Science or Maths and the less said about my (lack of) sporting talents the better. I was that brace-faced, glasses wearing nerd in the front row who always had her hand up in the air and could rattle off loads of random stuff. Still am. Obviously minus the braces!
Attempting to cram poetry into my dyslexic brain was more of a challenge. Apart from vague memories of, "Seasons of mellow fruitfulness ..." and "Exit, pursed by a bear" there's not much I remember from the Keats and Shakespeare I studied back then. I do remember visiting the Keats House in Hampstead with some friends. Not sure about the others, but I've never been back since. Until the other weekend.
Keats shared some rooms in the house with his friend, Charles Brown, from December 1818 to September 1820 and wrote most of his major poems while he lived there. He left to go to Rome in the hope of alleviating his tuberculosis and died from the disease the following year, aged just 25.
The house contains original manuscripts and artefacts - all beautifully arranged - telling the story of Keats' short life. There is also a small display on Keats's sweetheart, Fanny Brawne, who lived next door.
It's a really lovely place to spend a morning even if you're not a big poetry fan. Afterwards, go down the road to Polly's Tea Room and for a wander around the Heath.
Here are a few photos of my visit:
|View from the House|
|And looked out of this window|
|View from upstairs|
|View from the upstairs at Keats' house|
Some excepts from Keats' poetry: