24 June 2010

Highgate: Literary London #26

The house in which Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived from 1823 until his death in 1834 was at 3 The Grove, Highgate. He lived here with Ann and Dr James Gilman, who was a dentist. They were unsuccessfully trying to cure Coleridge of his opium habit.

Coleridge's tomb was moved to St Michael's Church in South Grove in 1961. His self-written epitaph is inscribed on the floor of the nave:

'Stop Christian passer-by! Stop child of God
And read with gentle breast. Beneath this sod
A Poet lies or that which once seemed he.
O lift one thought in prayer for S-T-C-
That he who many a year with toil of breath
Found death in life may here find life in Death!
Mercy for praise to be forgiven for Fame
He ak'd and hoped through Christ
Do then the same!'

J. B. Priestley lived at 3 The Grove in the mid-1930s.

Glinert mentions the essayist Francis Bacon, who died of pneumonia, 'which he supposedly caught while stuffing a chicken with snow in the village's Pond Square.' Odd reading this certainly makes, but the name of this street, just opposite Pond Square, suggests at least that he is remembered in the village.

17 North Road is where A. E. Houseman wrote A Shropshire Lad (1896).

A young John Betjeman lived at 31 West Hill 1808-17.

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