Wentworth Place, built in 1814 and completed in 1816, was only occupied by John Keats between December 1818 and May 1820. When the Romantic poet stayed there it was a pair of semi-detached dwellings where he lived with his friend, Charles Brown. Keats occupied two rooms. A parlour where he wrote some of his major poems: La Belle Dame Sans Merci, The Eve of St Agnes, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode to Melancholy and Ode to a Nightingale and an upstairs bedroom. The love of his life, Fanny Brawne, occupied the other half of the house, where she lived with her family.
The property has been carefully refurbished to recreate the Regency period, and Keats's parlour has been designed so that the furniture reproduces the painting of him that hangs over the fireplace.
A tour of the building also takes in Brown's parlour, with its view over the rear garden, and the upstairs bedrooms occupied by him, Keats, and Fanny Brawne. The third of these three rooms also reflects her love of dressmaking.
The Corporation of London administers the property and runs it as a museum to both Keats and to poetry. They undertake regular events involving local communities and schools, and the house is also home to a collection of memorabilia including letters and artefacts belonging to Keats, the Brawnes and to Brown.
The grounds, too, have been lovingly tended to provide 'a thing of beauty' where you can sit in contemplation, or even enjoy a sandwich. The gardens have been landscaped in keeping with the early nineteenth century, with sections echoing three of Keats's great odes: Melancholy, Autumn and Nightingale. The front garden is still dominated by the three hundred year old Mulberry tree that has overseen all the house's occupants.
The staff are all knowledgeable about the history of Keats House and its famous resident and are happy to answer questions. If you are lucky you may also be able to join a guided tour to enhance your visit. There is also a small shop, where you can buy books and other mementoes of John Keats.
Keats House is a stone's throw away from Hampstead Heath and is easily reached by Northern Line tube to Hampstead or Belsize Park, by London Overground to Hampstead Heath or by buses 24, 46, 168, C11 and 268.