Gothic Bloomsbury

Mary Shelley’s former home is on sale for £1m

Mary Shelley’s love affair with famous romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley began tumultuously in 1814 when Mary was just 16 years old.

The author of Frankenstein courted her future husband in the suitably gothic location of the graveyard at St Pancras Old Church. Here, she fell for his ‘wild, intellectual, unearthly looks’ and the pair allegedly consummated their relationship on her mother Mary Wollstonecraft’s tombstone.

When Mary’s father disapproved of their relationship, the couple ran away with her step sister Claire Clairmont. Travelling by donkey, mule, carriage and foot, the trio crossed war-ravaged France and journeyed into Switzerland before a lack of money forced them to return to England.

When Mary arrived back in London she was pregnant. The Shelley’s took up residence at Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury and Percy likely had an affair with her sister Claire. A year later, after Mary’s baby was prematurely born, the three made plans to spend a summer together at Lord Byron’s mansion Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva.

They might as well have holidayed in England as Shelley wrote of the terrible weather on the trip: a ‘wet, ungenial summer’ with ‘incessant rain’. Confined inside for days on end, the company amused themselves around the fire by telling ghost stories.

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Aged just 18, she then began to write one of the most famous gothic horror novels of all time. A book about a scientist called Victor Frankenstein who finds a way of animating life in non-living matter and creates a monster that ultimately kills him.

Today, Shelley's two bedroom residence on Marchmont Street is on the market for £1,025,000. The property on the site where they used to live has a brick facade and an English Heritage blue plaque commemorating their time there.

Inside, the apartment has original wood floors and large sash windows that provide the home with plenty of light. A spacious reception room offers a comfortable dining and living area while the kitchen leads out onto a 27 ft decked terrace with high walls for privacy.

Michael Keating, Director of Dexters Bloomsbury says, ‘this bright first floor flat offers buyers the opportunity to purchase a piece of history in one of London’s most historic neighbourhoods. Close to Russell Square tube station and King’s Cross, Marchmont Street has a wide array of pubs, cafes and second-hand bookstores. For the literary inclined, St Pancras Old Church and its graveyard are still just a 15 minute walk down the road.’