Tuesday 27th May – 18th meeting of 2014
Our usual meeting time at London Bridge today and the long journey on Northern Underground Line to Hampstead. The weather was wet and cold so we were all back in our winter-clothing!
The plan was to go to Keats House but as it didn’t open until one o’clock we stopped and had a coffee in a ‘trendy’ cafe, very typical of Hampstead! Not quite sure why but when we were served our teas and coffees we had bowls not cups with handles!! We enquired why but were told by waitress they didn’t use cups! Well, we managed ok but felt as if we should been in China!!
When we came out and started walking we noticed signs for Burgh House and 2 Willow Grove. As we were interested in seeing these house we continued but only to find that both houses were closed and do not open on Tuesdays! In fact they both had very limited opening times.
We carried on walking into Keats Grove. The houses in this area were fantastic. Each house different, large detached buildings all very well maintained. This is a beautiful area of London with a lovely homely feel around the streets.
As by now it was lunch time we went into The Freemason’s Pub for lunch. A lovely big old pub with conservatory and large garden which has been tastefully modernised. After a very good meal we went straight to Keats House.
The house is owned by The City of London Corporation, entry is £3.75 for seniors but has a 50% discount for National Trust members. As we are all members we took advantage of this offer!
John Keats lived in the house, which was built in 1816, for only two years but wrote some of his most famous poems here. He shared half of the house with his friend Charles Brown. Here he met and fell in love with Fanny Brawne who lived with her family in part of the house. He trained as a doctor but found it distasteful and became a writer and poet. He contacted tuberculosis and spent his last years in Italy where he died at the age of 25.
The house was beautiful. Very nice size rooms and it had a friendly homely feel throughout. The basement showed the kitchen, laundry area, larder and work rooms. The living rooms and bedrooms were very nice and although there was not a lot of furniture on show it gave a good impression of life in 1800’s. The garden was well cared for and compact. With such wet weather we could not stay long in the garden.
It was still raining when we left the house so we quickly walked back to Hampstead underground. We made our way home before the rush home started after a very enjoyable day.