Museums and Literature in the South West

| 06 May 1999

Famous writers and literary figures have lived, loved and died in thewest country. In this trail, you can find out which places areforever associated with famous writers. Many places are well-known;others still hide their literary history. Use this site to seek themout!

Famous writers and literary figures have lived, loved and died in thewest country. In this trail, you can find out which places areforever associated with famous writers. Many places are well-known;others still hide their literary history. Use this page to seek themout!

See the many unique objects from the world's finest Thomas Hardy collection in the new Dorset Writers' Gallery. Step inside his study, read his original manuscripts. Come face to face with the eerie Ooser and meet William Barnes, the Dorset Poet, the Powys brothers, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Jane Austen.

Bath is full of literary history! From 17th to 18th centuries nearlyevery literary person stayed here: Goldsmith, Sheridan, Dickens,Wordsworth, Shelley, Pope - to name but a few. Jane Austen (1775-1817)enjoyed holidays and lived here for a while, frequenting the PumpRoom. Two novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were set here.

Charles Dickens' study is recreated in the Book Museum, one of thesmallest of Bath's 16 museums. Here is displayed something of the manyauthors who knew or lived in Bath, The traditional craft ofbookbinding is also featured, with a reconstruction of a 19th centurybindery.

Book Museum, Manvers Street, Bath BA1 1JW. Tel 01225 466000.

Portrayed in Jane Austen's Persuasion, Lyme Regis boasts more than itsshare of writers. The Philpot Museum tells you all about them. JohnFowles' French Lieutenant's Woman has Lyme written all over it (hestill lives here). Henry Fielding caused a scandal here. BeatrixPotter came to stay. So can you!

Did you know the Rime of the Ancient Mariner was written in Somerset?Learn more about the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his cottage homeat Nether Stowey, where he lived from 1796. The National Trust ownsit now and lets you round between April and October.

Coleridge Cottage, 35 Lime Street, Nether Stowey, Bridgwater,Somerset TA5 1NQ. Tel 01278-732662.

Guess what? The in Shelley Park, Bournemouth tell youall about the poet Shelley (Percy Bysshe, no less) who lived1792-1822. His collections were brought back here to his son's housefrom his last home in Italy. "Oh Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring befar behind?" (Ode to the West Wind).

"Alas, poor Yorick" is alive, well and living in Bournemouth. Famousactor Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) has his own room inRussell-Cotes Museum.Strong character, natural actor and the first to be knighted:"He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his likeagain".

This is Tarka Country! Henry Williamson's famous otter story is one ofthe best loved nature yarns. Learn about him and Tarka in theMuseum's Tarka Room; study the life of otters and with interactivesjourney around north Devon's rivers. Barnstaple was also birthplacein 1685 of poet & dramatist John Gay.

Agatha Christie, the world's most published crime writer, was born inTorquay in 1890. At the Museum, learn about her life;

In Torre Abbey you cansee Agatha Christie's personal possessions and original manuscripts displayed in herrecreated study. Irish playwright Sean O'Casey also lived here fornearly 40 years.

Visit Salisbury on the Trail to find out about local author JohnCreasey. Did you know he used no less than 23 pseudonyms?! Alleditions in all languages of his books are preserved in the CityLibrary, plus the Creasey Collection of Contemporary Art.

John Moore, local writer and naturalist, has his own museum inTewkesbury, where he was born 1907. He wrote over 40 books - have youread The Brensham Trilogy, which "breathes the very spirit of ournative land"? Moore died 1967, having made his name as an unrivalledchronicler of the English countryside.

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