FORSTER, E.M. (1879-1970)
Plaque erected in 1983 by Greater London Council at Arlington Park Mansions, Sutton Lane, Turnham Green, London, W4 4HE, London Borough of Hounslow
E.M. FORSTER 1879-1970 Novelist lived here
Only twelve inches (30.5cm) in diameter, the plaque was specially commissioned to fit into the narrow space.
EM Forster is best remembered for his novels A Room with a View (1908) and Howards End (1910). He is commemorated with a blue plaque at Arlington Park Mansions in Turnham Green, which he used as his London flat from 1939 until his death in 1970.
NOVELIST AND CRITIC
Born in Marylebone, Edward Morgan Forster kept a London flat from 1925, though he spent much of his life with his widowed mother Lily in Surrey. It was at Harnham (now Revard), Monument Green, Weybridge – their home in 1904–25 – that he completed all six of his novels. A Passage to India, his last, was published in 1924.
After this Forster continued to write reviews and articles, was a regular broadcaster and dedicated himself to causes such as the National Council for Civil Liberties. Perhaps his most significant later work was the libretto for the Benjamin Britten opera Billy Budd (1951), which he co-wrote with Eric Crozier.
Forster moved from Bloomsbury to Arlington Park Mansions in October 1939, partly to escape central London following the outbreak of war, and partly to be closer to his friend and lover Bob Buckingham in Shepherd’s Bush. The block was built in 1905, and Forster occupied a top-floor flat – number 9 – ‘with a lovely view over Turnham Green’.
In 1945 Forster was elected a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, but continued to spent one or two days a week in London, invariably travelling with his small Gladstone bag by bus and train, since he regarded taxis as ‘a vulgar extravagance’. He retained the flat at Arlington Park Mansions as a pied-à-terre until his death.