HALL, Radclyffe (1880-1943)

Plaque erected in 1992 by English Heritage at 37 Holland Street, Kensington, London W8 4LX, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Radclyffe Hall's blue plaque on red brick wall

All images © English Heritage

Profession

Novelist, Poet

Category

Literature

Inscription

RADCLYFFE HALL 1880-1943 Novelist and Poet lived here 1924-1929

Radclyffe Hall was a novelist and poet, best-known for her lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness, which was banned shortly after publication in 1928. Hall was living at 37 Holland Street in Holland Park with her partner Una, Lady Troubridge when the scandal broke.

Radclyffe Hall, author of ‘The Well of Loneliness’

The novelist Radclyffe Hall frequently dressed in men’s clothes and was known as ‘John’ to her friends
© Russell/Stringer/Getty Images

THE WELL OF LONELINESS

Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall began her literary career writing verse, but it was her novel The Well of Loneliness (1928), together with her unconventional lifestyle, that gained her notoriety and has since made her an iconic figure.

The Well of Loneliness – the fifth of seven novels written by Hall – is a largely autobiographical work in which a lesbian heroine, Stephen Gordon, searches for fulfilment and acceptance in the post-Victorian age. Its appearance scandalised 1920s society, and the book was quickly banned in Britain. It remained largely unavailable until its republication in 1949.

Radclyffe Hall and her partner Una, Lady Troubridge

Radclyffe Hall (standing) and her partner Una, Lady Troubridge in about 1927
© Fox Photos/Stringer/Getty Images

HOLLAND STREET HOME

Hall – known as ‘John’ to her friends – lived with Una, Lady Troubridge (1887–1963) from 1916 until her death. The couple – both women of considerable means – were inveterate movers-of-house, flitting from flat to flat with remarkable speed.

Number 37 was their home from autumn 1924 until late 1928. Una described it as ‘a charming house’ in which they lived ‘for four years. Something of a record for us, wandering Gentiles that we were’. It was while living here that Hall wrote The Well of Loneliness, and was besieged by the press and public when the scandal broke following its publication. Number 37 also saw the writing of the less controversial Adam’s Breed (1926), a best-seller. 

Nearby Blue Plaques

Nearby Blue Plaques


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