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Kenneth Grahame

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Location type: Heritage
Number of texts: 1
3 stars
Made by | Reference | © All rights reserved
Made by | © All rights reserved

From High Street Kensington tube station exit onto the High Street.
Turn left and cross the road.
Continue to the the junction with Argyll Road.
Philimore Place is on your left - look for number 16.
Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh in 1859. His mother died in childbirth, and his father sent Kenneth, Willie, sister Helen and the new baby Roland to Granny Ingles who lived in the village of Cookham in Berkshire. It was a large, dilapidated house in idyllic surroundings and they were introduced to boating on the Thames and to Quarry Wood - the setting for The Wind in the Willows.
Unable to enter Oxford University, he worked for his uncle in London before joining the Bank of England in 1879, rising to become Secretary to the Bank in 1898. On retirement in 1908, he and his wife Elspeth moved back to Cookham where he turned the bedtime stories he told his only son Alastair into his masterpiece, written at 16 Philimore Place. Sadly Alastair committed suicide on a railway track while at Oxford University in 1920.
Grahame died in Pangbourne, Berkshire in 1932. He is buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford. Grahame’s cousin Anthony Hope, author of ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’, wrote his epitaph: “To the beautiful memory of Kenneth Grahame, husband of Elspeth and father of Alastair, who passed the river on the 6th of July, 1932, leaving childhood and literature through him the more blest for all time”.

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