Aldworth Road, E15

Place Name

This is one of a small cluster of streets commemorating Alfred Tennyson (August 6, 1809 – October 6, 1892), or Alfred Lord Tennyson, as he came to be known, who was Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign. In 1869 he moved to Aldworth House, outside the remote village of Haslemere, in West  Sussex, to escape fans plaguing him during the summer months at his home in Faringford on the Isle of Wight. Ironically, he had moved to the island to seek refuge from visitors to his property in Twickenham. The house was designed by Sir James Knowles and was occupied by Tennyson until his death. The poet was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, where his alcoholic father was rector. The separation of his parents led the teenager to grow up concerned about his own mental health and plagued him with money worries for years to come. He was extremely short-sighted and needed a monocle to be able to see to eat. The mixed reception of his early works published in 1832, which included the first version of The Lady of Shalott, stung him; but his fortunes changed following the success of two volumes published in 1842. This included a new version of The Lady of Shalott; Break, Break, Break; and Ulysses. A favourite of Prince Albert, he was appointed Poet Laureate, succeeding William Wordsworth in 1850, a position that allowed him to marry his childhood sweetheart Emily Sellwood. As laureate he wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade, a dramatic tribute to the British cavalrymen involved in an ill-advised charge on October 25, 1854, during the Crimean War. Other works include Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington and Morte d’Arthur. He also dedicated The Idylls Of The King to the memory of Albert. At Queen Victorian’s insistence, he accepted a peerage, which he had previously turned down when it was offered by both Gladstone and Disraeli. Poets and playwrights are, and remain, popular subjects for street names by developers. Tennyson Road and Faringford Road are nearby.

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