Tag Archives: William Rufus Jordan

The Hunt for Keats House Part 7 – One Old Man cont. ….. The Home Straight

Twenty-seven years passed from Frederick Cornish Frost’s challenge before the address of Keats’ lodgings was mentioned in another biography – the one in which Dorothy Hewlett made the reference to “one old man”.  However, things were going on in the background.  In 1925 the Keats House and Museum opened in Hampstead; Frederick Edgcumbe had been appointed as curator in 1924 and in August 1926 he came down to Teignmouth to assist in deciding on which house had been Keats’ lodgings.

I have contacted the Keats Museum and established that there are archived notes of Frederick Edgcumbe about his visit and information he might have collected.  Those notes are now held in the London Metropolitan Archives in the City of London – they can only be viewed by visiting the Archives so I may need to do that even after all this investigation.  My feeling though is that it is unlikely that the archives would contain new information that has not emerged already from original sources.  By 1926 William Risdon Hall Jordan, Dr W C Lake, Henry Buxton Forman and Frederick Cornish Frost had all died.  Edgcumbe may have met Beatrix Cresswell and the notes might reveal that.

In any event he reached a decision which was that No 20 Northumberland Place was Keats House.

Dorothy Hewlett

Frederick Edgcumbe’s thoughts though may have lived on through Dorothy Hewlett’s biography.  She knew him well and praised him warmly in her acknowledgments:

“Mr Fred Edgcumbe, Curator of the Memorial House, the fairy godfather of all good students of Keats”

As a reminder here is what Dorothy Hewlett said about Keats’ house:

“At No 20, the Strand, there is a granite plate on the face of the old white Georgian house to the effect that John Keats lived here in 1818.  This, by no means a certainty, rests on the memory of one old man in 1901 who said his father, William Rufus Jordan, a solicitor in the town, had told him that Keats had dined with him one evening and informed him he was lodging in either 21 or 22 the Strand.  H Buxton Forman was able to narrow this down to what is now No 20.”

And this is my interpretation:

  1. It is interesting that Henry Buxton Forman (HBF) has been given the credit for this when all the preceding analysis suggests that it was probably Dr W C Lake of Teignmouth, through his connection with William Risdon Hall Jordan, who had reached this conclusion.  I suspect that Dr Lake had told HBF about it, HBF told his son Maurice and Maurice told Dorothy Hewlett and/or Frederick Edgcumbe, putting a little bit of spin on it in the process.  Note that, in her acknowledgments, Dorothy Hewlett thanks Maurice Buxton Forman first and foremost:
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    ”To Mr Buxton Forman I make my first bow.  With sources, with advice and kindly criticism he has removed many briars from my path.  Without his help and preliminary encouragement this book would not have been.”
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  2. What this does confirm though is the inference from Frederick Cornish Frost’s 1910 letter that the source of the assertion about No 20 being Keats’ house came from William Rufus Jordan via his son (the “one old man”) William Risdon Hall Jordan.
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  3. The date quoted, 1901, conflicts with the chronology presented in the previous posts which suggests a date range of 1907-1910 for when the assertion was made.  I believe the 1901 date is just wrong and has probably been confused with the date of publication of Beatrix Cresswell’s book.
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  4. The new information that Keats had dined with William Rufus Jordan is something I can’t confirm although, if this were the case, it is strange that it wasn’t mentioned specifically in the 1910 letter of Frederick Frost.
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  5. The new information that Keats said he was lodging in either 21 or 22 the Strand (aka Northumberland Place), if true, is interesting not because of the actual numbers (which we know from an earlier post may have changed over time) but because it suggests two houses adjacent to each other.  The maps of the time would therefore suggest that he would not have been lodging in the present-day N35 because that stood on its own, whereas the present-day No 20 is shown as part of a block of 3 houses.
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  6. Finally, just as a general observation, the biography has quite a British slant to it. There are hardly any references to the research that had been done in America. In particular, there is no reference at all to Louis A Holman who had been assiduously collecting all sorts of Keats memorabilia from 1908, was still alive when Dorothy Hewlett was compiling her biography and whose collection was actually exhibited at Keats House, Hampstead, in 1936-37.

Hyder Edward Rollins and Louis A Holman

At last we now come to the final piece of the jigsaw and it is through the American connection of Louis A Holman.  It takes us forward another 21 years to 1958 when Hyder Edward Rollins put together a new edition of the Letters of John Keats.  In his words:

“So much information has turned up in recent years about the dating and arrangement of Keats’s letters as to make a new edition almost imperative”.

One such batch of information was the Louis A Holman collection of Keatsiana which became part of the Houghton Library at Harvard.

As a reminder of what Rollins wrote, referring to a letter from Dr W C Lake to Louis A Holman :

“.…. on April 4, 1913, Lake had identified the Teignmouth house in which John, George, and Tom Keats lived as 20, The Strand, now Northumberland Place (today marked with a tablet)

I have been unable to track down this letter in the catalogue of the Houghton Library, even with the help of library assistants there.  However, the reference in Rollins’ book has a footnote referring to an earlier article of his, “Louis Arthur Holman and Keats”, in the Harvard Library Bulletin Vol IV of 1950 a copy of which was kindly sent to me by the Library.  The article is simply a catalogue of letters received by Louis Holman related to Keats, with a summary by Rollins of the main points of each letter.

There are three letters of relevance:

19 February 1913. This is a letter from A Percival Dell who is the clerk to the “urban council Teignmouth”.  It refers Louis Holman to W. C. Lake, MD, of Benton, Exeter Road.

So it looks as though Louis Holman was trying to get information about Keats’ period in Teignmouth and had written to the council for a contact.  This suggests that when Holman had visited England in 1908 he hadn’t made contact with anyone in Teignmouth so the photograph he took at the time must, most likely, have been based on his reading of Beatrix Cresswell’s book and the sketch he saw there.

(As an aside, A Percival Dell was a solicitor in partnership with Edward Tozer, a firm still operating in Teignmouth today.  He was still around in 1930 so could well have been the intermediate passing information about Dr Lake and Louis Holman to Frederick Edgcumbe when he visited Teignmouth in 1926 – that may be revealed if I get to see Fred Edgcumbe’s notes.)

4 April 1913.  This is a letter from W. C. Lake, MD.  It contains quite a lot of information and it looks as though Holman had written to him with specific questions about names and locations referred to in Keats’ letters.  The relevant points here though are (in Rollins own words):

  • 35, The Strand (now Northumberland Place) was not the house K. lived in.
  • He was talking a few years ago with his friend W. R. Hall Jordan (died two years ago aged 90), whose father W. R. Jordan knew K. well.  Jordan said that No. 35 was the house in which K.’s ‘pretty milliners’ lived, and that K. lived in what is now No. 20.
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    My inference from this is that WRH Jordan had been told by his father WR Jordan that Keats had lived in No 20 Northumberland Place; you can almost imagine the conversation – “did you know that John Keats once visited Teignmouth and that’s the house where he lodged …”


    However, I’m less convinced that a bonnet-shop would have been part of that conversation because there is no definitive recorded evidence of a bonnet-shop being there in 1818.  However, Dorothy Hewlett in her biography referred to a bonnet-shop being there in the 1830s (something I still need to check).  So I believe that WRH Jordan was talking about his own childhood memory when referring to the house where the milliners lived.

The other note by Rollins concerns a clipping which Louis Holman had attached to the letter:

  • G.Speed’s article in the Century Magazine, LXXX (1910), 690, has a picture, supplied by H. of ‘The Lodgings of Keats and his Brothers in Teignmouth’.  Clipping the picture, H. writes under its caption: ‘In this title I made a mistake.  It should be “the bonnet shop over the way”’.  So this lays to rest the curveball from John Gilmer Speed – Louis Holman acknowledges that he had sent him the wrong title to the photo for his article.

20 May 1913.  This is another letter from W. C. Lake, MD.  Rollins’ notes include the following:

  • A direct quotation from the letter: ‘I do not suppose there are half a dozen persons in the town who know anything about Keats or take any interest in him.’
  • Sends poor photos of No. 20 where K. lived.

Those photos are listed in the catalogue of the Holman Collection at the Houghton Library and I have been sent copies as shown below, together with the handwritten notes of Louis A Holman explaining the pictures:

 

   
 

The photos are undated and they obviously haven’t been taken at the same time – the left-hand photo shows a street gaslamp in front of No 20, whereas there is no lamp in front of it in the right-hand photo.  Also, going back to the 1912 photo of No 20 (see post on biographers), there is no gas lamp.

The transcription of Holman’s notes reads:

“Keats and Tom lived in lodgings (above arrow, photo on left) during March and April 1818.  In the photo on right the house is the one in front of which a girl is walking.  Local tradition locates the “Bonnetshop” in the house with bay windows (right of right photo).

BIG SIGH HERE ….. I think I have clambered at last through Keats’ “Clouds” and presented the last bits of evidence I can find surrounding all the various claims, assertions, suppositions of the past 120 years or so.

COMING NEXT …. THE VERDICT

The Hunt for Keats House Part 7 – One Old Man cont.

Frederick C Frost

It was exactly 108 years ago today that Frederick Cornish Frost challenged Beatrix Cresswell’s statement about Keats’ House.  Following my earlier post I have since discovered that he was an antiquarian, ran the local family business of auctioneers, became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1913 and died prematurely of a heart attack in 1914.  He wasn’t an historian or biographer and his contribution to this debate came through a letter he wrote to a local paper on 14th April 1910.

Analysing that letter in more detail, this is my interpretation:

  1. The challenge of the letter wasn’t as much against Beatrix Cresswell as against the local council.  It was aimed at getting the council to take some action about setting up a series of plaques around town commemorating the town’s association with various historic figures, amongst whom was Keats.
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  2. Specifically in relation to Keats he said: “The house he lived in is now 21 Northumberland Place ….. For this statement I have the authority of Dr Lake, Mr W R Hall Jordan (WRHJ) and Mr Forman Buxton (sic) CB ….. each remembers this house to have been pointed out to them by those of the former generation as the Teignmouth home of the poet.”
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  3. Frost would have known Dr Lake well through their joint interest in history, membership of the Devonshire Association and membership of the Freemasons.
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  4. He would have known WRHJ too through the Devonshire Association.
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  5. However, I think the reference to Henry Buxton Forman (HBF) is probably an embellishment to add some academic weight to the point he was trying to make in the local paper.  Note that he actually got HBF’s name wrong.
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  6. I can’t find any rebuttal by Dr Lake or WRHJ of what Frost is saying – surely if it was wrong then they would have written a letter in response.
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  7. However, it is unlikely that Dr Lake would have suddenly remembered the “house to have been pointed out …. by those of the former generation”.  If he had known this then he would have told Beatrix Cresswell in 1901.  The reference to Dr Lake though does suggest that he has changed his mind, so what caused that?
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  8. The new piece of information in the letter is William Risdon Hall Jordan.  He was born three years after Keats was in Teignmouth but his father, at least in 1822, lived at 11 Northumberland Place, just up the road from where Keats would have lodged.  So I believe that the memory must have come from WRHJ and that, if that memory was correct, then it would likely have been his father who had told him.  His father may well have met Keats strolling along Northumberland Place, but that’s just speculation.
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  9. As often seems to be the case in historical research this may be a case of serendipity.  Maybe Frost, Dr Lake and WRHJ were all together at a meeting of the Devonshire Association some time after 1906 and the conversation turned to Keats, which is when WRHJ revealed his memory.  Who knows?
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  10. Whether it was this letter or subsequent local campaigning by Frost, by 1912 the name “Keats House” had been placed by the owners on the front door of No 20 Northumberland Place (see earlier post on biographers).

The John Gilmer Speed Curve Ball

John Gilmer Speed

It turns out that John Gilmer Speed was the grandson of Keats’ brother George.  He started life as a civil engineer but by 1878 he had become the managing editor of the New York World.  He wrote a number of books including editing a collection of “Letters and Poems of John Keats” in 1883.

His article “The Sojourns of John Keats” in the Century Magazine in 1910 is interesting for the following:

  1. There is only passing reference to Teignmouth, with no indication in the text about where Keats lived.  BUT it does include a photograph by Louis A Holman of “The Lodgings of Keats and his Brothers in Teignmouth”.  This is a photograph of No35 Northumberland Place.
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  2. The article was actually published posthumously.  John Gilmer Speed died in February 1909.  So the photograph must have been taken in 1908 or earlier.
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  3. It turns out that Louis A Holman, of Boston, went to England for several months of work involving antiquarian and other research ….” I haven’t found a record of him visiting Teignmouth but he certainly did some research In Plymouth so it’s not unreasonable to suppose that he would have visited Teignmouth en route given his interest in Keats and the fact that it was in 1908 that he started collecting Keatsiana.
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  4. So why did he photograph No35 Northumberland Place as the lodgings of Keats and his brothers? There are two possibilities:
    1. Either he had discovered the Beatrix Cresswell book and tracked down the house from that; or,
    2. He had an introduction to Dr W C Lake (possibly through Henry Buxton Forman) who still hadn’t changed his mind abouts Keats House by then.

So the curveball doesn’t actually give us any new information – it is just another reflection of Dr Lake’s original deduction and Frederick Cornish Frost’s challenge still stands.

COMING NEXT ….. HOMING IN

The Hunt for Keats’ House Part 7 – One Old Man

Clamouring through Clouds

I started writing this on 8th April so I thought I’d look back 200 years ….. whilst on the 8th April 1818 John Keats was looking forward to the future.  He wrote to his friend Benjamin Haydon:

“I will clamber through the Clouds and exist”

In the hunt for Keats’ House I feel I’m clambering through the clouds now …… is there life beyond!

One Old Man

In Dorothy Hewlett’s Biography of Keats in 1937 she says (see post on biographers):

“At No 20, the Strand, there is a granite plate on the face of the old white Georgian house to the effect that John Keats lived here in 1818.  This, by no means a certainty, rests on the memory of one old man in 1901 …..”

There is a brief explanation of where this information came from which is what I want to explore in more depth here.  This involves an understanding of the players, amongst whom are more than one old man.  Most of them have already been mentioned in the various preceding posts but I want to draw them all together here to round off the plot.

The Players

  1. Harry Buxton Forman,

    Henry Buxton Forman, 1842-1917, was a prolific author and authority on Shelley and Keats. He produced the ‘centenary’ collection of Letters of John Keats in 1895.  In 1934 it was discovered that he had produced a number of forgeries of literary works, for sale in the American market – though none by Keats..

  2. Maurice Buxton Forman, NPG etching by Wig, 1931

    Maurice Buxton Forman,1872-1957, was Henry’s youngest and, apparently, favourite son, who followed in his father’s footsteps.  He was well acquainted with his father’s literary work and friends. He and Thomas James Wise sorted the Buxton Forman Collection after his father’s death in 1917, prior to its sale as part of the estate.  He continued updating the “Letters of John Keats” collection through to its 4th edition in 1952..

  3. Dr W C Lake, 1825-1920, was Teignmouth born and bred.  His father, Anthony Proctor Lake, was a naval surgeon and William followed his profession having studied at Kings College, London, and St Andrews University.  He practised in Teignmouth for over 40 years, was on the honorary medical staff of the Teignmouth Hospital, for 14 years was Medical Officer of Health for the urban district, and performed much useful work during the outbreak of cholera in 1867.  He was also a bit of a polymath with special interests in local history and meteorology on which he wrote a number of articles for the Devonshire association.  Of special interest for this piece of research was that:
    • His parents moved to Teignmouth in 1817;
    • he went to school with Robert C R Jordan (1825-1890) who also became a doctor and was the younger brother of William Risdon Hall Jordan;
    • according to Pigot’s Directory of 1822 his father was recorded as a surgeon at No16 Northumberland Place. The Navy List of 1841 shows that his father was registered in the service in 1806.
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  4. William Risdon Hall Jordan, 1821-1911, son of William Rufus Jordan, also Teignmouth born and bred, was a solicitor like his father and also performed various public roles – e.g. Clerk to Teignmouth Urban District Council and Teignmouth School Board; Hon Sec to the Bread & Coal Society and the Soup Kitchen. He too was a member of the Devonshire Association and wrote various articles on local history and natural history.
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  5. William Rufus Jordan, 1792-1865, was the son of Robert Jordan one of the influential businessmen of Teignmouth who instigated the plan for the infilling of Teignmouth town centre where the river Tame once flowed.  He was a solicitor and, in 1818, a founding member of the Teignmouth branch of the Missionary Society   In Pigot’s Directory of 1822 he was recorded as an attorney at No 11 Northumberland Place, so a close neighbour of Dr W C Lake’s parents.
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  6. Hyder Edward Rollins from Guggenheim Foundation

    Hyder Edward Rollins, 1889 – 1958, was an American scholar and Gurney Professor of English at Harvard University from 1939. He was a prolific author of articles and books on Elizabethan poetry, broadside ballads, and Romantic poets. He was an internationally recognized scholar on John Keats, and edited the authoritative two-volume edition of Keats’ letters.  These he completed in the last four years of his life..

  7. Louis A Holman, 1866-1939, was an illustrator, art editor, and print dealer in Boston, Massachusetts.  Beginning his studies of Keats and collection of Keatsiana in 1908 he became an expert on the “life of Keats and the persons, places, things connected with Keats.” He described his collection as a “poor man’s for no item in it has cost more than five dollars….. about 500 pieces – contemporaneous portraits of Keats, his family, teachers, friends, critics, enemies; places having relation to Keats; facsimile[s] of Mss, pictures & sculpture which influenced his poetry, first printings of his poems, cut from periodicals of his day, etc…”. His collection now forms part of the Houghton Library at Harvard.
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  8. Fred C Frost, was a Teignmouth contemporary of Dr W C Lake and William Risdon Hall Jordan.  He lived at 5 Regent Street and would have known Dr Lake well since they were both members of the Freemasons Benevolent Lodge 303.  He too was a member of the Devonshire Association and made contributions to that organisation and to the “Antiquary” and “Notes & Queries, a Medium of Intercommunication, for Literary men, General Readers etc” on subjects as diverse as the Devon dialect, medieval religious orders and heraldry.  He used the initials FSI after his name which could mean he was a Fellow (full member) of the Surveyors Institution, awarded a royal charter in 1881 and the forerunner of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
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  9. Frederick Edgcumbe, was the curator of the Keats House and Museum in Hampstead, London, from its inception in 1924 through to his death in 1941.  During that time he amassed a large amount of Keats related material and was a well-respected source of information for biographers.  He edited the “Letters of Fanny Brawne to Fanny Keats”, published by OUP in 1936.  A memorial tree and plaque was placed in the grounds of Keats House by the Keats-Shelley Association of America.  He also visited Teignmouth to recommend which house should be designated as Keats House.

The Views

Here’s a reminder of the views from earlier posts:

Beatrix Cresswell, 1901: “A year or two ago, Dr Lake and Mr H Buxton Forman, C.B. (the latter then busy in searching for memorials of Keats), were at some pains to ascertain, if possible, the house in which he stayed.  By studying his letters they concluded that the young poet lodged in a house (now 35, Strand) at the corner of Queen Street, a turning toward the river.”

Fred C Frost, 1910: “The house he lived in is now 21 Northumberland Place (adjoining the King William Inn, facing Queen Street) and is not , as Miss Cresswell in her guide states, No 35 Northumberland Place at the corner of Queen Street nearly opposite.  For this statement I have the authority of Dr Lake, Mr W R Hall Jordan and Mr Forman Buxton (sic) CB who although neither of them are patriarchal enough to have been the contemporary of Keats each remembers this house to have been pointed out to them by those of the former generation as the Teignmouth home of the poet.”

Dorothy Hewlett, 1937:  “At No 20, the Strand, there is a granite plate on the face of the old white Georgian house to the effect that John Keats lived here in 1818.  This, by no means a certainty, rests on the memory of one old man in 1901 who said his father, William Rufus Jordan, a solicitor in the town, had told him that Keats had dined with him one evening and informed him he was lodging in either 21 or 22 the Strand.  H Buxton Forman was able to narrow this down to what is now No 20.”

Hyder Edward Rollins, 1958: (referring to a letter from Dr W C Lake to Louis A Forman): “.…. on April 4, 1913, Lake had identified the Teignmouth house in which John, George, and Tom Keats lived as 20, The Strand, now Northumberland Place (today marked with a tablet), and the shop of ‘the Girls over at the Bonnet shop’ as 35, The Strand.  Whether the former was the house of Mrs Jeffery cannot be proved, though I think it is likely that the Keats brothers lodged with, or visited, her there.”

So, we have a number of views, with some inconsistencies and contradictions.  Is history always like this?  Discuss.  The next post will try to make sense of these views and see if there is a single most likely scenario.

But ….. just when you think everything is going swimmingly and it’s safe to go back in the water something comes in from left-field, rife with mixed metaphors, to add to the state of confusion.

I have just discovered an article “The Sojourns of John Keats” by John Gilmer Speed in The Century Magazine, Vol 58, May to October 1910.

The text itself doesn’t add to the debate but it does include a photograph by Louis A Holman of “The Lodgings of Keats and his Brothers in Teignmouth”.  This is a photograph of No 35 Northumberland Place.

 

TO BE CONTINUED …..

The Hunt for Keats House Part 3 – The Clues

If this exercise has given me anything so far it is an undying admiration for historians and the patience they must have in trying to research and make sense of the past.  I am just trying to establish one simple piece of information – where Keats lodged in Teignmouth – yet I have already encountered so many claims, counter-claims, assertions, contradictions.

The time has come to take stock of what has been revealed so far.  So, from the previous posts on local views here is a summary of the clues so far ……

The Lake/Forman connection

Beatrix Cresswell -1901: Dr Lake and Mr H Buxton Forman studied Keats’ letters and concluded that Keats lived in 35 Strand. (repeated in Teignmouth & Dawlish News 1934 and Herald Express 2005.  Note that she also refers to knowing this several years before)

Fred C Frost – 1910: Dr Lake, Mr W R Hall Jordan and Mr Forman Buxton (sic) CB remember the house No 21 Northumberland Place being pointed out to them “by those of the former generation” as Keats’ lodging. (Note the new number, not 20)

The Advertiser 1982: Biographer Dorothy Hewlett wrote that the case for No 20 rested “on the memory of one elderly man in 1901 who said that his father, Mr William Rufus Jordan, a solicitor, had told him that Keats had dined with him one evening and said that he was lodging in either 21 or 22.  Mr H Buxton Forman, Editor of the Keats Letters, was seemingly able to narrow this vague description down to what is now number 20”. (Note again the new range of numbers).

Letter Teignmouth Museum 1994: “Back before the end of the 19th century Dr Lake and a friend identified the “Keats House” as No 35, Northumberland Place (the bow-window pink house opposite No 20).

The Mystery of the Milliners

Fred C Frost -1910: From Keats’ letters Keats ogled the milliners “at the corner across the way” and “we know that” No 35 was a milliners (The implication therefore is that No 21 was Keats house)

Grace Griffiths 1965: “we know from his letters that ….. there was a glove shop opposite.

The Advertiser 1982: Mr H Buxton Forman specified No 20 based on an old bonnet-shop in the Strand at that date

Letter Teignmouth Museum 1994: “Keats, in his letters, states that he lodged ….. opposite a milliner’s shop”

Ian Frost Note 1994: “There was in the 1830s a Bonnet shop at No 35 at the corner of Queen St”

Lucy Simister 1995: “Across the road from the Keats’ boarding house was a bonnet shop, (still there today – empty and virtually unchanged) that sold gloves, bonnets and ribbons”.  Also “From Tom and George’s window they often signalled across the road to the girls at the bonnet shop”

River View

Teignmouth & Dawlish News 1934: “Keats refers in one of his letters to ‘looking up the river’ ….. quite probably, he was able at that time to have looked up the river from either house”

Grace Griffiths 1965: “we know from his letters that the house ….. had a view up the river

Letter Teignmouth Museum 1994: “Keats, in his letters, states that he lodged in a …..  house which had a view upriver”

Corner House

Grace Griffiths 1965: “we know from his letters that the house was a corner house

Letter Teignmouth Museum 1994: “Keats, in his letters, states that he lodged in (1) a new corner house.

The Jeffreys

Lucy Simister 1995: Writes that according to parish records William and Sarah Jeffery lived there (I.e. at the bonnet shop) with their two daughters Mary-Ann and Sarah Frances

Unverified

Teignmouth & Dawlish News 1934: Mrs Osborn, living at 35 Northumberland Place, has a cutting from an old book saying “he lodged at the house now numbered 35 The Strand”

Grace Griffiths 1965: “John Keats spent the spring of 1818 in a newly built house on the Strand”

Letter Teignmouth Museum 1994: Edgar Chapman puts forward a new theory that Keats lodged at No 38, based on location of milliners and river view

Lucy Simister 1995: “In the December of 1817 his brothers George and Tom arrived in Teignmouth to stay in lodgings on the newly built Northumberland Place”.  Also, “Research strongly suggests the John’s room was at the back of the building, whilst his two brothers shared a larger room at the front” (Note: the implication of this is that if John Keats was looking upriver from his window then he must have lodged in No 35, whose back faces upriver, rather than No 20, whose front faces upriver).