Posted @ 11:42:21 on 13 July 2013
Yesterday was a scorcher! While hordes of people were heading for Hampstead Heath, I snuck away down a side street in search of John Keats. The Keats museum is tucked away in one of the more affluent parts of Hampstead (although I am not sure there are any less affluent parts), and there are little clues when you are getting nearer. 'Warmer' says Keats Pharmacy, 'Warmer still' says Keats Grove. Of course the house wasn't called Keats House when he lived there (as he was a penniless poet) but has since been renamed.
Keats lived here in the last year or two of his very short life. It was here that he met and fell in love with Fanny Brawne, and here that he wrote Ode to a Nightingale. The mulberry tree in the garden is hundreds of years old. Of course the house is not in the exact format it was in when Keats was here, but it has been put together well enought to give a sense of what it may have been like.
My favourite parts were Keats' bedroom, his parlour overlooking the mulberry tree, and the kitchens which are tucked away in the basement.
The rooms feel slightly sad; although Keats was happy here, and found love in the house, he also contracted TB and was ill here. It brings home just how young he was when he died and what an amazing legacy for a twenty six year old to leave behind.