Hanover Terrace from 'The Bookman'

Hanover Terrace (from The Bookman of June 1912)


Hanover Terrace was built by Nash in 1823 and overlooks central London's Regent's Park.  The appearance today is very much as it would have been in Collins's time and the address equally prestigious.  He lived at number 17 with his mother, Harriet, and brother, Charles, from August 1850 to June 1856.  The house became a regular meeting place for their literary and artistic friends such as the Dickens family, the Wards, Millais, Holman Hunt and other members of the Pre-Raphaelite group.  It was later the home of writer Edmund Gosse.

Wilkie was not altogether keen on his mother's decision to live in Hanover Terrace and wrote to her on 3 August 1850 from Falmouth during his walking tour of Cornwall:

I resign myself to Hanover Terrace (and to the Queen's Bench afterwards) But I do not feel quite resigned to leaving you to "move" by yourself - If you want me back, write and tell me so, and I will come back at once - Write moreover to advise me of the departure of the P.O. order.  

He followed this up on 14 August 1850 with:

You may as well tell me in your next letter what is the number of the house in Hanover Terrace - or when I get home, I shall not be properly qualified to find out where my house is.  By the bye, don't forget that there will be something considerable to pay annually for keeping up the inclosure in the Park and that this must be settled somehow with Mr Gibbons.

Wilkie Collins's handwritten address in Hanover Terrace

Collins had just published Antonina in February 1850.  During his time in Hanover Terrace he wrote Rambles Beyond Railways (1851), Basil (1852), Mr Wray's Cash Box (1852), and Hide and Seek (1854).  He was also continuing his career as a journalist with essays and stories in Bentley's Miscellany and Dickens's Household Words.


Hanover Gate to Regent's Park

Hanover Gate, the entrance to Regent's Park adjacent to Hanover Terrace


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