Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Graham Greene lived here!

Graham Greene lived here!
Originally uploaded by hedgiecc

No. 14 Clapham Common North Side

The novelist received an official blue plaque from English Heritage last week.

"Graham Greene (1904-1991) lived at 14 Clapham Common North Side from 1935 until he was forced to leave the house due to war damage in 1940. His novel The End of the Affair is set in Clapham in 1945-6. The narrator lives in a bedsit 'at the wrong side of the Common' (South Side), drinks in the 'Pontefract Arms' (The Windmill) and visits 'the dark church at the corner of Park Road - a Roman Catholic church full of plaster statues' (St Mary's).
Writing to his mother, Greene describes Clapham thus: 'the whole appearance of Clapham Common is lovely, like a wide green plateau on a hilltop above Battersea with the Common stretching out in one direction and on three sides surrounded by little country-like shops and Queen Anne houses."

- from Clapham Past by Gillian Clegg

Greene lived here with his family from August 1935 to October 1940, when the house was bombed.

"The English Heritage blue plaque will be installed at 14 Clapham Common North Side, where Greene lived with his family from August 1935; at that time he described it as “a most beautiful Queen Anne house … done up absolutely like a museum piece”. It remained his home until October 1940 when it was hit in a bombing raid and became uninhabitable; the house was empty that night as Vivien and the children had been evacuated to Sussex and Graham was staying in Bloomsbury with his lover, Dorothy Glover. This devastating event later inspired the pivotal point in his novel, The End of the Affair. Despite the damage, the outer walls of the house remained intact, allowing the interior to be rebuilt after the war. The house is Grade II* listed and forms part of a terrace built by the architect John Hutt in 1714-20.

Greene’s daughter, Caroline Bourget, said of the house: ".... my father evacuated us to his parents' home in Sussex in August 1939 when I was only 5 yrs old......but I do remember the magnificent staircase. Some well-known writers and publishers visited the house such as John Betjeman and Evelyn Waugh. When I met them later, they recalled seeing me at the age of 3 or 4."

English Heritage blue plaque historian Dr Susan Skedd said: “Graham Greene is indisputably one of the great British writers of the twentieth century. He achieved the rare distinction of enjoying both critical and popular admiration throughout his career. Since the centenary of his birth in 2004 his literary reputation has been increasing and we hope this plaque will act as a focus for old and new fans of his work alike.”

Graham Greene lived here!

1 comment:

Jan said...

Quite right too.
Congrats to Clapham!