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Writers and poets who were born or died in London during the 18th century

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18th Century
The poet John Dryden died in Gerrard Street in Soho in 1700. He became the first official Poet Laureate in 1668 succeeding Sir William D'Avenant. He had to relinquish the post in 1688 during the Glorious Revolution and in 1689 Thomas Shadwell took over the post. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

John Dryden
The Glorious Revolution
Famous people buried at Westminster Abbey The poet laureates



The poet Nahum Tate died in London in 1715 and is buried in St Paul's Cathedral. In 1692 he had succeed Thomas Shadwell as Poet Laureate and he was himself succseeded by Nicholas Rowe.

Famous people buried at St Paul's Cathedral
The poet laureates



The author of the first gothic novel The Castle of Otranto and son of the the first "Prime Minister" Robert Walpole, Horace Walpole was born at Arlington Street in 1717. He died at his home in Berkeley Square in 1797 and is buried with his father at Houghton Hall near New Houghton in Norfolk.

Horace Walpole



In 1718 the poet Nicholas Rowe who had only succeeded Nahum Tate as Poet Laureate in 1715 died in London. He is buried in Westminster Abbey and was succeeded by Laurence Eusden.

Nicholas Rowe
Famous people buried at Westminster Abbey The poet laureates



In 1745 the poet Henry James Pye was born in London. He succeeded Thomas Warton in 1790 as Poet Laureate and on his death in Pinner in 1813 he was succeeded by Robert Southey.

Henry James Pye
The poet laureates



In 1757 the artist and poet William Blake was born in Soho. He died in London in 1827. He is buried at Bunhill Fields in Finsbury.

William Blake
Famous London cemeteries


I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

A Poison Tree (1794)

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

Auguries of Innocence (1803)



The pioneering feminist and writer Mary Wollstonecraft, was born in Spitalfields in 1759. She wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women. She died in London in 1797 shortly after giving birth to her daughter Mary Godwin, the later Mary Shelley. She is buried with her daughter and husband, the philosopher William Godwin, in Bournemouth, Hampshire.

Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft


I do not wish them (women) to have power over men; but over themselves.

A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

A slavish bondage to parents cramps every faculty of the mind.
A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)



The writer Samuel Johnson, better known as Dr Johnson, died at his house in London in 1784. He is buried in Westminster Abbey. From 1748-59 Johnson had lived at 17 Gough Square near Fleet Street and it was while living here that he compiled his famous dictionary of the English language.

Samuel Johnson
Famous people buried at Westminster Abbey


A man, doubtful of his dinner, or trembling at a creditor, is not much disposed to abstracted meditation, or remote enquiries.
Lives of the English Poets (1779-81)



The poet William Whitehead died in London in 1785. He had succeeded Colley Cibber as Poet Laureate in 1757 and would be succeeded by Thomas Warton.

William Whitehead
The poet laureates



Lord Byron was born in Holles Street off Oxford Street in London in 1788.

Lord Byron Lord Byron


When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss.

When we two parted (1816)

He thought about himself, and the whole earth,
Of man the wonderful, and of the stars,
And how the deuce they ever could have birth;
And then he thought of earthquakes, and of wars,
How many miles the moon might have in girth,
Of air-balloons, and of the many bars
To perfect knowledge of the boundless skies;
And then he thought of Donna Julia's eyes.

Don Juan (1819-24)



John Keats was born in London in 1795. From 1818 he lived at Wentworth Place in Hampstead until 1820 when he left for Italy to try and alleviate his tuberculosis.

John Keats
John Keats
The John Keats website


A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Endymion (1818)

And she forgot the stars, the moon, and sun,
And she forgot the blue above the trees,
And she forgot the dells where waters run,
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;

Isabella (1820)



The author of Frankenstein and wife of the poet Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley was born as Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in London in 1797. Her parents were the writer and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the philosopher William Godwin. She died at her home at 24 Chester Square, Westminster in 1851 and is buried with her parents in Bournemouth, Hampshire.

Mary Shelley



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