Friday, 11 October 2013

A visit to Tite Street, and Wilde's house(s)

This week I took a trip to London and decided to pay a visit to Tite Street, Chelsea.

Me at Tite Street, Chelsea

It's the site of Oscar Wilde's house. Where he and his wife, Constance Lloyd, made their home. Where Wilde wrote his greatest works. And where his worldly possessions were auctioned off after he was convicted of gross indecency and declared bankrupt. Ouch!

No. 34 Tite Street

Blue plaque at Wilde's house

It was great to be stood outside the house from which Wilde sallied forth and conquered London. But, in truth, I hadn't come to Tite Street to see this house. I'd come to see another, fifty metres down the road. Not No. 34, but No. 44. The bachelor pad Wilde shared with Frank Miles, the artist.

No. 44 Tite Street

No. 44 Tite Street

This is where Wilde lived just before he toured America, and it plays a big part in the first chapter of my comic book script about Wilde's American adventure. This is where he entertained actresses like Lillie Langtry and Helena Modjeska, and even such luminaries as the Prince of Wales. It was where he stopped a pair of police officers at the front door while Frank Miles, suspected of interfering with his young models, scurried to his escape over the roof. It was the base of operations for Wilde's first salvo on London literary society: a self-published book of poetry that was met with mixed reviews.

It was exciting to visit the house where the story I've been writing for the past 18 months begins. You can tell how overjoyed I am from this photo.

Rob at No. 44 Tite Street

Or maybe you can't. What can I say? I was worried the millionnaire owners would open the door and swat me off their step with a broom.


Discover more about Oscar Wilde's American lecture tour, and our comic about it, at oscarwildecomics.com

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