London 2011

(For a proper write-up see the George Borrow Bulletin for Autumn 2011.)

Members of the Society gathered at Brompton Cemetery on the 23rd July 2011 for our annual honouring of George Borrow by laying a wreath on his grave.  The Society has recently paid to have the grave restored and many pictures were taken at the ceremony:

George Borrow’s grave in Brompton Cemetery, 23rd July

For those who have never seen Brompton Cemetery it really is worth a visit—a very peaceful, often overgrown, rambling graveyard where the locals walk their dogs, people sit on benches, and some, like the Borrovians, come to fondly remember those buried there (over 100,000).

After the ceremony most of the Society walked along Old Brompton Road and a lot of talk and renewing of friendships was had.  Just before we turned off Old Brompton Road we past the house where Beatrix Potter lived: nothing to do with Borrow but interesting nevertheless.

Turning into Gloucester Road (now famous for an underground station) we came to Hereford Square, the garden square was looking particularly fine in the summer sunshine.  The Borrows had moved to 22 Hereford Square in 1860, and George Borrow eventually left the house in 1874.  Some Borrovians hadn’t seen the house (which is now private, but has a plaque on the outside to George Borrow), and many photographs were taken.

22 Hereford Square, where George Borrow lived 1860–74

As can be seen from the photograph, many of the Borrovians had by now disappeared into the Hereford Arms pub. on the opposite side of the square.  The 1863 Kelly’s Directory lists 38 Hereford Square as “Mason James, Beer Retailer” and two years after that it’s listed as the Hereford Arms—so it was George Borrow’s “local”.  The Society regrouped in the Hereford Arms and had a very pleasant meal.

George Borrow Society in Hereford Arms, Hereford Square,
Brompton, 23rd July 2011

 After the meal Clive Wilkins-Jones gave a very interesting talk about his researches on Lucy Brightwell, the friend of George Borrow.  Clive is writing a book on Lucy, sponsored by the George Borrow Trust, which we’re looking forward to.

The afternoon passed in friendly talk and Borrovian anecdotes.