Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 18 February 2013
The storm which spawned a legendary monster
For years, I have known that Mary Shelley wrote part of 'Frankenstein' in a building which was demolished to make way for the excavations of the Roman Baths here in Bath, but what I did not know until very recently, is that she finished the book in this building - now a 'Brora' clothing outlet in New Bond Street.
The story goes that she visited this house (the facade did not include a Victorian shop-front at that time, obviously, and was purely domestic with stone right down to the street), and when a terrific thunderstorm broke out, she decided to stay here and finish the book off, rather than get soaked by making her way back through the muddy streets to the baths. There were probably other factors - get away from Percy and the rest of the gang? - but here is where she stayed for the time being.
The stone staircase is original, but the leaded windows are a Victorian (or slightly later) addition.
This - being the main living room at the time - was probably where the monster first decided to wander off into the icy wilderness, leaving his creator to die on board a whaling ship.
Rather like the remains of Richard the Third being unearthed in a Leicester car park, I find being so close to legends extremely inspiring - it certainly beats the hell out of Jane Austen for me, and I live here.