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Bookish Kensington

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Kensington’s Main Literary Figures

Posted by Oliver, on 27 May 2014, in Bookish Kensington
May
27
The plaque outside Bram Stoker’s house in Kensington and Chelsea. ‘Bram Stoker-Kensington And Chelsea’ © 2008 den99, used under a Creative Commons license.

The plaque outside Bram Stoker’s house in Kensington and Chelsea. ‘Bram Stoker-Kensington And Chelsea’ © 2008 den99, used under a Creative Commons license. (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

I know I have said this time and again, but one of the things I like best about working at a hotel in Kensington – and living in the area as well – is just how much history and culture one can have access to in the area, if one knows where to look. The flagship of this are our astonishing free museums, of course, but there’s just so much more to be found on the streets of this borough that I make it a point to tell guests staying at my hotel in Kensington about some of the lesser known facts about the area.

One of the things that I love to tell people about – especially those I can tell are cultured – is the fact that so many prominent figures of British literature lived in this area at one point or another. While this is not all that surprising – Kensington has, after all, always been known for being a culturally stimulating borough – it is still a badge of pride to be worn by us Kensington natives!

Among the many names to have resided in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, some of the most famous include Dame Agatha Christie (who you may all know from her series of Poirot mystery novels), Bram Stoker (he of Dracula fame), George Eliot (nee Mary Anne Evans, and author of such works as Silas Marner and The Mill On The Floss), James Joyce, and of course J. M. Barrie, whose Peter Pan occupies pride of place at Kensington Gardens. Even famous American writer Mark Twain resided in the borough for a period of his life, having a home at Tedworth Square!

I have to confess, even now, writing this post, rattling off this list of names makes my heart swell with pride. The fact that so many major names in English language literature lived and worked in my borough makes me even more proud to be a Kensingtonian!

Fans of literature staying at a hotel in Kensington and looking for new activities around the area may therefore want to engage in a ‘scavenger hunt’ of sorts, looking for all of these authors’ old houses. It could be a fun way to kill an afternoon, while still getting a taste of the neighbourhood’s bountiful cultural heritage!

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