What is Keats House?
‘Keats House, or Wentworth Place as it was originally known, was built in 1814 by William Woods, a local builder and completed in 1816. Originally two separate houses, the larger side of the property was first occupied by Charles Wentworth Dilke and his family, while the smaller, eastern side was occupied by Charles Brown. It was to Brown’s side of the house that John Keats came to live in 1818, staying here for just 17 months before travelling to Italy where he died. ‘ – Keats House
This museum was once the home of John Keats from 1818 to 1820; he lodged with his friend Charles Brown here and write some of his most well-known poems there. Whilst living at Wentworth Place he met and fell in love with Fanny Brawne. After leaving Wentworth Place, as it was known then, he travelled to Italy and died of TB at the ages of twenty-five.
There is a lovely collection of Keats related items; this includes portraits and paintings, a small collection of books, some letter written to and by Keats, items owned by the other members of the household (Fanny Brawne, Charles Brown, etc). With regards to the furniture and clothing that is displayed in the rooms, they are to my knowledge not the original items that were there during Keats’ time. Some items because of the delicate condition they are in are not displayed but you can easily view them online.
Keats House is such a beautiful house and museum in a lovely location. I was fortunate enough to go on a sunny day; this made the gardens surrounding the house look idyllic.
When you buy the ticket, or in my case I used my Arts Pass, you get a leaflet which guides you through the house. It is very detailed and clarifies a lot of points about the house such as the adjustment that were made later on by the actress Eliza Jane Chester. In each room there were detailed guides on the artefacts in the room and references to Keats poems. There are also extract of letters that he either received or sent with the background story to contextualise them. The attention to detail Keats House had been very helpful as I am not familiar with Keats’ work, I found that this museum helped build up a character of Keats and how he lived in a very clear way.
I had a very pleasant experience visiting Keats House and I intend to visit again in the summer when the weather improves.