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London townhouse that hosted Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes' first romp is up for rent


18 Rugby Street, what a history you have! The London townhouse that kindled the ill-fated romance between Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes is now up for rent 60 years later. Hughes even wrote a poem about the the locale, titled “18 Rugby Street,” in which he describes the townhouse, “It’s possessed! / Whoever comes into it never gets properly out! / Whoever enters it enters a labyrinth - A Knossos of coincidence.”

Read Ella Jessel’s full report on the letting of 18 Rugby Street via the Camden New Journal, or in partial below.

IT is the grade-II listed townhouse in Bloomsbury where two giants of the literary world, poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, began their romance amidst “Victorian torpor and squalor”.

Now, the setting for their first dates, 18 Rugby Street – the title of Hughes’ poem about the couple’s first night together – is up for rent.

Sixty years on, prospective tenants will no doubt find something more attractive than the pale grey flat with no running water described by Hughes.

Plath, best known for her semi-autobiograph­ical novel The Bell Jar, first visited Hughes at the house in 1956 and has long been associated with the borough of Camden.

She lived with Hughes in Chalcot Square, in Primrose Hill, and died at her house in Fitzroy Road, where she com­mitted suicide aged 30.

But Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society, a Bloomsbury-based organisation which represents British poetry across the world, said 18 Rugby Street is a reminder that not all of the couple’s connections to the area are “sad ones”.

“People focus most immediately on the home in Fitzroy Road, Primrose Hill, where Plath took her own life”, said Ms Palmer, adding: “It would be good to think that number 18 might attract another literary tenant, who’ll enjoy a happy and creative life there.

“There’s still plenty of poetry on the doorstep, with The Poetry Society only minutes away at the heart of a thriving community of readers and writers.”