For two years this Regency house
was the home of the famous Romantic poet John Keats, who lived
from 1795-1821. The house was built as two semi-detached
houses in 1816, and Keats was persuaded to move into the smaller
one in 1818 by his friend, Charles Armitage Brown.
Between 1818-1820 Keats wrote
some of his best-loved works here, his poem, 'Ode to a Nightingale',
was written under a plum tree in the garden. Living
in the larger house next door was the Brawne family, and Keats
soon fell in love with one of the daughters, Fanny Brawne
and the couple became engaged. Tragically their marriage
never took place. Keats was suffering from consumption
(tuberculosis) and in 1820 he was advised by his doctor to
spend the winter in the warmer Italy, Keats never returned
to England, dying in Rome in 1821 aged 25.
Keats House was opened to the
public in 1925. The interior, in Regency style, retains
much of the character of the house as Keats knew it.
Original manuscripts and books
can be viewed in cabinets, part of a collection of Keats'
life and work. Other mementos on display include one of Keats'
love letters to Fanny, the engagement ring, and a lock of
her hair. A new plum tree in the garden marks the position
of the tree under which Keats sat to write.
Literary events are held at Keats
House including poetry readings, talks, workshops, and walks.
and garden has now reopened after resoration work.