24 February 2013

Francis Thompson in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester

This plaque remembering Francis Thompson is at 226 Stamford Street near Brook Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, above a former jeweller's shop:

"The Poet of Catholicism" moved to this
address with his family in 1864 and lived
here until 1885. His best-remembered
work, "The Hound of Heaven", was
published in 1893.'

Thompson's father Charles was a homeopath and (along with his wife Mary Turner Thompson (née Morton)) was a Catholic convert. The family moved here from Francis's birthplace in Preston. Charles sent his son to Owens College, Manchester, with hopes for his future in the medical profession. However, Francis hated it and preferred to spend his time reading poetry. Following a fierce argument with his father, he fled from home for London, and the wretched consequences are related in the book in the link below.

ADDENDUM 1: Yesterday's Manchester Evening News (28 March 2014) contained an article with several photos of the building: this historic structure has now collapsed in on itself.
ADDENDUM 2: This is what the hole – where Francis Thompson's house used to be – looked like on 24 April 2014:

Francis Thompson: The Preston-Born Poet (1912), by John Thomson

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