Person Male Born 2/6/1840 Died 11/1/1928
Novelist and poet, best known for his novels set in rural 'Wessex' such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd. Born Upper Bockhampton, Dorset. Before turning to writing full-time he studied architecture in London from 1862 - 67 under Arthur Blomfield, an architect based in Covent Garden.
It was during this time that he became familiar with London and its society and began writing. For the next 20-odd years he lived on and off in London and the suburbs. From his first marriage in 1885 he and Emma spent every “season” approximately January – June in London socialising. For this they rented a variety of houses or flats across fashionable inner north-west London. In all, Hardy lived at 34 different London addresses.
Died at home, Max Gate, Dorchester, Dorset.
Hardy wished his body to be buried with his first wife. But the nation wanted him in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner. So the compromise was to bury just his heart in Dorset. An early biography tells an interesting story (which may even be true) about this: A surgeon performed the heart-ectomy but then had to leave the room and when he returned the heart had gone and the cat was licking its lips. So the cat was killed and buried in the casket intended for the heart.
Much of our information comes from Mark Ford’s “Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner” published 2016.