Heath Poetry INTRODUCTION - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

Hampstead
Heath
2017
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Heath Poetry INTRODUCTION

The area has lent itself to a variety of poets, authors and artists, too many to include ALL here but some of the most noteworthy are mentioned here.

During The Queen Anne period, 1665 to 1714, The Upper Flask Tavern became the haunt of a number famous people, known as the Kit-Cat Club.

Members included the Duke of Marlborough, Steele, Addison, Sir Robert Walpole and the Duke of Devonshire.

Prior to this period, Milton often visited Highgate Hill to see his friend Andrew Marvell but Steele was the first literary man to make Hampstead his home, where he lived in a small cottage in Haverstock Hill.

Voltaire is said to have visited Hampstead between 1726 and 1729.

Gay was there in 1727 to take the waters, while Pope was often seen walking with Mr. Murray, (later Lord Mansfield), through Kenwood, well before the latter owned The Estate.

Fielding, Goldsmith and Richardson were all attracted to Hampstead for the "health-giving air" and the "waters" at the Wells.

In 1746, Dr. Johnson took lodgings in Frognal, due to his wife's ill health.

Leigh Hunt lived in The Vale Of Health, where he had retired following two years' imprisonment for his scathing criticism of the Prince Regent!

Favourite guests of his were Keats and Shelley.

For Shelley, "the wind-swept spaces of the open Heath breathed vigorous life and inspiration."

The "verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways" and the nightingale's song in Kenwood were probably in his mind when he wrote his famous Ode in the garden in Well Walk.

Coleridge looked across Nightingale Valley onto the magnificent beeches of Ken Wood and the superb Lime Avenue, which he described as "a cathedral aisle."

Scott, Byron, Tennyson, Browning and John Ruskin were also frequent Hampstead visitors.

Sir Walter Scott visited his friend, Joanna Baillie on Windmill Hill and Washington Irving found inspiration for some of his descriptive writings in 'Tales Of A Traveller'.

Dickens liked nothing better than a walk from London to The Heath and then home again in the evening  through Highgate and Kentish Town, after dinner at Jack Straw's Castle.

Dickens stayed for a short time at Wyldes Farm and Thackeray makes reference to his Hampstead visits in some of his novels.

In the 1860s, Anthony Trollope was a visitor  and George Eliot came to Hampstead, following her completion of 'Silas Marner' whilst she was planning 'Romola'.

On one occasion, during a five hours' walk, Herbert Spencer was their companion.

Hans Anderson was taken by his hostess, Mary Howitt, to see "the haymaking in the meadows of Nightingale Valley".

He was staying with her on West Hill.

Florence Nightingale spent a long holiday trying to recuperate her shattered health from The Crimean War.

George Meredith came to see friends at Hampstead and to enjoy the "glories of its surroundings and sunsets,"

In 1874, Robert Louis Stevenson spent some time with his friend Sir Sidney Colvin.

Gainsborough lived and painted in Hampstead for several years and Constable spent nearly the whole of the last sixteen years of his life there..

Turner probably only created one Hampstead work and that is his sketch from Hampstead to Highgate Church.

Romney spent some of the closing years of his life in Hampstead.

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