Has this ever happened to you? Sometimes when you work on a new project, a name pops up again and again and you start seeing references to it everywhere you go. What do they call it – Six degrees of separation?
So it was for me with the poet John Keats who is thought to have written the poem, Endymion (which starts “A thing of beauty is a joy forever …) when staying at my new client, The Burford Bridge Hotel, now known as the Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel.
I had recently seen that name just before however at Guy’s Hospital in Southwark. Keats actually trained as an apothecary, doctor and physician in London, obtaining his licence to practice in 1816 from Guy’s Hospital and it is here that he sits eternally in Guy’s courtyard.
Another memory pings and I remember the plaque to Keats – Poet, Apothecary, Surgeon and Chemist – opposite the incomparable Old Operating Theatre (a wonderful time capsule of a medical museum) in St Thomas’s Street in Southwark. As we now all know, he turned to writing rather than medicine, becoming, alongside Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of our best known English Romantic poets. He sadly died young aged just 25, from tuberculosis.
I feel that I have been following in his footsteps by chance rather than design with our two disperate lives somehow entwining by circumstance. It’s led me of course, to pick up an old volume of his poems to read once again. Happiness.
Contributor & Photographer: Sue Lowry
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