WHAT’S THE STORY? One of my favourite poets is Andrew Marvell and I have my school, Hornsey Girls, to thank for introducing me to all the Metaphysical poets. It was probably through Marvell that it first clicked with me that all human beings are basically the same – he could be a very naughty boy, in a very charming way – and women were amused by that mix in the 1600s as they often are now! So when my friend Sue mentioned he had lived on Highgate Hill for a few years I felt a little frisson of pleasure – the great man walked up and down the hill and I must have followed in his footsteps at some point in my many traipses along that same slope.
Marvell’s Cottage was demolished in 1865 but we have a photo of it just before it disappeared and a memorial plaque was placed at the spot by London County Council in 1989 which reads:
Four feet below this spot is the stone step, formerly the entrance to the cottage in which lived Andrew Marvell, poet, wit, and satirist; colleague with John Milton in the foreign or Latin secretaryship during the Commonwealth; and for about twenty years M.P. for Hull. Born at Winestead, Yorkshire, 31st March, 1621, died in London, 18th August, 1678, and buried in the church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields.