Swinburne Gardens

Like its near neighbours Swinburne Gardens, Manadon, is named after a prominent British writer:

Algernon Charles Swinburne, born in Chester Street, Belgravia, in London in 1837, was educated at Eton and Oxford and went on to become one of the nineteenth century’s great romantic free spirits. With an innate distaste for convention and religion he wrote what has since been regarded as some of the most melodic poetry and prose ever produced in this country. His Poems and Ballads, produced in 1866 very much reflected his attitudes and his sensuality and provoked more than a little outrage when it first appeared. Second and third volumes were brought out in 1878 and 1889 but they lacked some of the fire and passion that fuelled the first.In the meantime many other works were published, including a number of very competent critiques of various contemporary European artists and writers – he was among the first to properly appreciate William Blake and he was a great admirer of the Pre-Raphaelites. He also effectively reappraised Shakespeare (Study of Shakespeare 1880) and some of the Bard’s rather neglected sixteenth century contemporaries.

Having overcome a serious alcohol problem, largely thanks to his friend WT Watts-Dunton with whom he lived quietly for the last thirty years of his life, Swinburne died, somewhat forgotten, in 1909 at the age of seventy-two.