William Blake’s London

London has a plethora of talented people who have claimed (or still claim) the capital as their home. 

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Poet William Blake (28th November 1757 – 12th August 1827) was just one of these. Born in London, Blake spent his entire life living in the city, apart from three years when he moved to the Home Counties. He was often found in the neighbourhood’s that we operate in. Central London estate agents Kay & Co has taken a look back at London during Blake’s era to see how things have changed.

A love of London

The English poet, painter and printmaker was largely unrecognised during his lifetime but Blake is now considered to be a huge influence within the history of poetry and visual arts. One of his most famous poems was simply titled ‘London’. It’s a short poem that encapsulates London around the time of 1794 when it was first published. It conjures up thoughts of a completely different city, with the streets and the Thames described as ‘charter’d’, leading some literary experts to suggest this refers to the political and economic control that Blake was feeling at the time of writing. The poem talks of weakness, crying in man, infants and chimney sweeps, hapless soldiers sighing, a church getting blacker all the time and a palace that appears to have blood on its walls’.

Clearly, London at this time seemed to be sad, dirty, overcrowded, riddled with disease and under the shadow of fear that the French would invade – a stark contrast with the urban metropolis we see today.

Central London property in the Georgian era

Blake’s life in London coincided with the Georgian era under the reign of King George III. There were a number of architectural styles to come out of this period, including Palladian, Gothic and Chinoiserie. From the mid-1760s, a range of Neoclassical styles were popular. John Nash was one of the most prolific architects of the late Georgian era, known for his distinctive Regency style commissioned by the Prince Regent himself. Nash was responsible for designing large swathes of London, particularly around Regent’s Park, The Quadrant, Regent Street, Carlton House Terrace, Marble Arch, Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.

Georgian properties for sale in Central London today

Kay & Co have a number of gorgeous Georgian properties for sale in Hyde Park and the surrounding areas, including three stunning apartments at Connaught Place and a Georgian townhouse on a prime residential street in Connaught Village.

At Kay & Co, we have extensive local knowledge about Blake’s London and the Georgian properties that are a legacy of his era. If you are interested in buying, selling or renting property in Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and the surrounding areas, please contact one of our Kay & Co offices.

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