PLATH, Sylvia (1932-1963)
Plaque erected in 2000 by English Heritage at 3 Chalcot Square, Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8YB, London Borough of Camden
SYLVIA PLATH 1932-1963 Poet lived here 1960-1961
The American poet Sylvia Plath lived at two addresses in Primrose Hill in the early 1960s. Her blue plaque can be found at 3 Chalcot Square, where she lived with her husband Ted Hughes from January 1960 until August 1961. She was attracted to her later address – 23 Fitzoy Road – by the blue plaque commemorating WB Yeats.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Plath moved to England in December 1959 with her husband, the British poet Ted Hughes (1930–98). In January the following year, through the efforts of the American poet WS Merwin and his English wife, the couple found an unfurnished three-room flat on the top floor of 3 Chalcot Square. It was to be their home until August 1961 when they moved to Devon.
Plath's time at number 3 was happy and productive: she published her first volume of poetry, The Colossus (1960), wrote her only novel, The Bell Jar (1963), and gave birth to her first child, Frieda.
In December 1962, Plath left Devon with her children and returned to Primrose Hill, moving to 23 Fitzroy Road, which she described as:
the street and the house ... where I've always wanted to live ... It is WB Yeats’ house – with a blue plaque over the door, saying he lived there.
The plaque that attracted Sylvia Plath to 23 Fitzroy Road was erected in 1957, and marks the boyhood home of the Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats.
Tragically Plath was soon overcome by the depression that dogged her throughout her life, and she committed suicide the following year at the age of just 30.
The plaque at number 3 was unveiled by Plath’s children Frieda and Nicholas Hughes in 2000. Asked why it did not mark 23 Fitzroy Road, Frieda replied, ‘My mother died there ... but she had lived here’.