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 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.
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.
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.