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Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:40 am
by Cath
Gentle readers, I've spent the last eight days in London where I have been on the Keatsian trail. Let me tell you of my travels!

My first stop was Hampstead and Keats's House (again...) where I purchased a slim book which tells of the lives led by Keats's medical roommates, Henry Stephens - inventor of blue-black ink - and George Wilson Mackereth, after they knew Keats. I also found in a second-hand bookshop a first edition of the 1952 Fanny Brawne biography for five pounds! I was very surprised to see it there, never thought I would bump into it like that.

Then I went on a "Keats in Moorgate" walk, led by a tour guide from the House, who read some of Keats's poetry and gave a potted history of Keats's life. It was a treat to hear his sonnets, the opening of Endymion, and extracts from the odes read. I finally had the chance to make it to Apothecaries Hall, his lodgings on St. Thomas Street with Stephens, and the bronze alcove statue of Keats at Guy's. I've wanted to see these sights for ages, especially Apothecaries Hall on Blackfriars Lane close to the river. We also saw the site where Keats lodged with his brothers on Cheapside and wandered through old Georgian alleyways, along Bread Street where Milton was born in 1608, and around Blackfriars where Shakespeare is thought to have lived. I'd already visited the site of the Swan and Hoop where Keats spent his early years and we went there, too.

I've got some pictures for you all but they're not uploading. I'll ask Saturn to post them.

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:33 pm
by Saturn
And as promised here they are:

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Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:09 am
by Raphael
I also found in a second-hand bookshop a first edition of the 1952 Fanny Brawne biography for five pounds! I was very surprised to see it there, never thought I would bump into it like that.


Great find!!

Then I went on a "Keats in Moorgate" walk, led by the lovely tour guide Anita, who read some of Keats's poetry and gave a potted history of Keats's life. It was a treat to hear his sonnets, the opening of Endymion, and extracts from the odes read. I didn't learn anything new about the poet but I had the chance finally to make it to Apothecaries Hall, his lodgings on St. Thomas Street with Stephens, and the bronze alcove statue of Keats at Guy's. I've wanted to see these sights for ages, especially Apothecaries Hall on Blackfriars Lane close to the river. We also saw the site where Keats lodged with his brothers on Cheapside and wandered through old Georgian alleyways, aolong Bread Street where Milton was born in 1608, and around Blackfriars where Shakespeare is thought to have lived. I'd already visited the site of the Swan and Hoop where Keats spent his early years and we went there, too.


Nice photos- many thanks Cath. What used to be where the bank is now? I think his alcove needs cleaning though! What is Apothecaries Hall used for now?

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:08 am
by Cath
Thanks for posting them Saturn!

The photos are of:
1. 2. Apothecaries Hall
3. A 19th Century Apothecary Cabinet
4. Looking towards Cheapside from Ironmongers Lane
5. 6. Keats statue in alcove at Guy's
7. Site of Keats's birthplace and Swan and Hoop in Moorgate
8. 9. The church on St. Thomas Street housing the Old Operating Theatre
10. Bronze plaque near Keats statue at Guy's
11. Site of 76 Cheapside where Keats & his brothers lodged, now demolished
12. Blue plaque on St. Thomas Street where Keats lodged with other medical students
13. Site of the house where Keats lodged on St. Thomas Street

Being a geek, I thought the portable mahogany apothecary's cabinet was interesting. Keats must have used something similar. It held glass files of mixtures and pills for prescriptions, and small square crystal glass bottles could be stored in lower drawer. I saw at the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garrett, which you must visit if you have the chance! It's located in the old attic of a church - they used to use natural light from the skylight while condicting their speedy operations without anaesthetic up there. The average amputation was conducted in under two minutes!! And only women were permitted to wear blindfolds - men were able to look at the limb as it fell into the sand casket, dripping with blood :shock: . Alcohol was commonly used as an anaesthetic before modern anaesthetic techniques were developed in the 1840s, so he may have had a stiff brandy beforehand. The Old Operating Theatre was built in 1822, meaning it wouldn't have been used by Mr. Keats, but he would probably have known something similar:

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Hundreds of students and even paying guests were allowed to attend to these operations. The Operating Theatre used to be a hospital and parish church run by monks. All hospitals at that time were built outside of city walls, to stop infection being brought into the city. Which is why Keats was learning his trade across the river.

@ Raphael: Apothecaries Hall is still in use for examinations (for pharmacists, dentists, etc.) and there is a society attached to it, which holds functions and lectures. Other than that, it can be rented for seminars and conferences. Usually the gate to the courtyard is open and you can peek in, but it was shut over the Easter weekend while I was there.

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:49 am
by BrokenLyre
Thank you so much Cath. I would give anything to be able to go there. Yes, I am envious....but I will get over it. Maybe someday I can get there. Great pictures! Thanks for the information as well.

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:14 pm
by Raphael
Thanks Cath- seeing as you like the historic medical stuff have you been to the Thackery medical
museum in Leeds?

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:00 am
by Cath
No, I haven't, I'm afraid. I rarely make it up North since I moved abroad. Maybe one day!

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:12 pm
by Raphael
It is a great museum- little section on Keats there

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:06 pm
by Cath
Raphael wrote:It is a great museum- little section on Keats there"


Really??? I didn't know that! Now I'll have to visit it :lol: .

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:08 pm
by Cath

Re: Keats in Moorgate

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:57 pm
by Raphael
Wow, that is amazing - found just as it was! I hope it goes to a medical museum like the Thakeray! They have an apocethary section so it would be a great addition to this.