Tennyson Avenue, TW1

Place Name

Commemorates Alfred Tennyson (August 6, 1809 – October 6, 1892), or Alfred Lord Tennyson, as he was later known, who came to live in Chapel (or Holyrood) House, Montpelier Row, Twickenham, in March 1851 shortly after he was made Poet Laureate. His son Hallam was born in Chapel House, and baptised at St Mary’s Church on October 5, 1852. However, he only stayed a short while in the area saying it was too close to London, with too many visitors once the railway had arrived to the area. He also complained of the smell of cabbages in the vicinity. He left for the apparent seclusion of Faringford in the Isle of Wight in November 1853. But he did not abandon all connections with the area, his widowed mother Elizabeth Tennyson moved into Chapel House. Tennyson 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. Milton Avenue and Byron Avenue are nearby.

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