The House of Fiction

By Phyllis Richardson

A cultural exploration of British houses in fiction from Shandy Hall to Manderley

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Galsworthy Houses, Forsyte Saga of a different kind

I've been doing more research into John Galsworthy's houses and though I still haven't found the definitive model for Robin Hill in the Forstye Saga, I've found some interesting facts. After he was offered a knighthood (by Lloyd George, which he turned down) in 1917, Galsworthy bought Grove Lodge, in Hampstead, and then a few years later he bought Bury House, a 15-bedroom mansion near Pulborough in Sussex (above). He also built some cottages in Bury which are still there and privately owned. I've also learned that one of his boyhood homes (his father built a few) at Kingston Upon Thames is now the Galsworthy House Care Home, finding a similar fate to H.G. Wells house in Sandgate, as I mentioned in a previous post. It makes you wonder whether there shouldn't be a sort of care home for aging writers--I think I've heard this dramatized on Radio 4! Apart from his writing Galsworthy was an active peace and justice campaigner (which partly influenced his being offered a knighthood--he did accept the Order of Merit in 1929). He worked with Catharine Amy Dawson-Scott when she founded PEN in 1921 and was its first president. A shame, I think, that his work fell so much from favour. Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence, for example, found him old-fashioned.

I must interrupt the flow here to thank the most recent supporters who have taken the leap with us on The House of Fiction. We continue to move forward with the funding, so a very big THANK YOU from me and the Unbound team. Now, it would be fantastic if you could PLEASE spread the word. If you all mention the project to other like-minded readers, then I'm sure we'll reach the audience we're looking for.

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