Writers Homes

London – Bloomsbury 11

Jerome K Jerome is another late 19th century/early 20th century writer who is remembered with a plaque in Bloomsbury. Jerome, the author of “Three Men in a Boat”, lived briefly at 32 Tavistock Place.
Jerome was a friend of J.M. Barrie (see previous post) and a member of Barrie’s amateur cricket team along with other writers such as Rudyard Kipling and H. G. Wells.

Jerome K Jerome Plaque

London – Bloomsbury 10

Today is the birthday of J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. While in London, we passed by one of the first places where he lived when he came from Scotland in 1885. A blue plaque marks the spot where Barrie lived in lodgings, on the corner of Grenville and Bernard streets, in a building which no longer exists. In Peter Pan, this house became the Darlings home where Peter flew in to meet Wendy.

JM Barrie House Site

London – Bloomsbury 5


Just one block west of Tavistock Square (see previous blog) is Gordon Square where the Bloomsbury Group began. Virginia moved to 46 Gordon Square in 1904 with her sister Vanessa and brother’s Adrian and Thoby. On Thursday evenings they entertained many writers and painters including Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, Roger Fry, and Leonard Woolf.


Dover – Dickens 2

Just one block back from the seafront at Dover, in Camden Crescent, is a blue plaque to commemorate where the Dickens family stayed on holiday in 1852. The actual building was destroyed during World War II.

The plaque is part of the Dover Society Millennium Historic Plaque Trail and you can pick up a brochure for the trail at the visitor information office in the town centre.


London – Camden 2

1824 was a tumultuous year for the young Charles Dickens. It was the year his father was committed to the Marshalsea Debtors Prison, and the year he was forced to help support his family by working at a blacking factory. According to the experts at the Victorian Web website, when the rest of the Dickens family moved into the Marshalsea, Dickens was left on his own at a boarding house in Camden Town. Later he moved to another boarding house in Lant Street in Southwark and much closer to the prison.

When Dickens senior was discharged from prison the family took up residence at a house in what now is Cranleigh Street in Somers Town which is just south of Camden Town. They remained at this address for some years before moving to another part of Somers Town. The Somers Town neighbourhood later became the setting for the Micawber family home in “David Copperfield”.


London – Camden 1

On previous trips to London we have tended to ignore Camden, the part of London north of Euston Station. This time we investigated some literary connections in Camden Town before enjoying a scenic walk along the Regent’s Canal to Regent’s Park.

Dylan Thomas and his wife Caitlin and their three children lived briefly in the basement of a house at 54 Delancey Street, and about 300m from Camden High Street. They were at this address in the early 1950s, and Thomas described the location as a horrible one opposite a railway bridge and shunting station. Still, he couldn’t really complain as the accommodation was provided for him by his friend Margaret Taylor, wife of the historian A J P Taylor.


Sydney – Edinburgh Castle pub – Henry Lawson

The Edinburgh Castle hotel in central Sydney has been on the corner of Pitt and Bathurst streets since 1885. The pub has recently been given a facelift, but still recognises its connection to the much loved poet, Henry Lawson. The famous bush poet, who ironically spent most of his adult life in Sydney, lived in the hotel in 1895, frequented its bar and wrote some of his most famous works there. A quote from one of his poems can be seen on the exterior of the building from the pavement in Pitt Street.