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Southwold home of author George Orwell in 1930s to get plaque in his honour

PUBLISHED: 13:21 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:21 19 March 2018

Montague House in High Street, Southwold, where author George Orwell lived in the 1930s. Picture: ORWELL SOCIETY

Montague House in High Street, Southwold, where author George Orwell lived in the 1930s. Picture: ORWELL SOCIETY

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The former family home of famed Nineteen Eighty-Four author George Orwell in Southwold is set to get a fresh plaque in honour of his literary legacy.

The existing plaque at Montague House, Southwold, which has been crumbling. Picture: ORWELL SOCIETYThe existing plaque at Montague House, Southwold, which has been crumbling. Picture: ORWELL SOCIETY

Montague House in High Street was the family home of George Orwell – whose real name was Eric Blair – from 1932-39.

The Grade II-Listed house, which is privately owned, already has a plaque in place to recognise his residence there, but the Orwell Society has now submitted an application for a fresh plaque because the old one is crumbling.

The listed building consent application, submitted to Waveney District Council, is currently in the consultation phase but is likely to be unveiled later this spring if approved.

Barrow-based firm FA Valiant & Son Ltd has been commissioned to carry out the work.

Ann Kronbergs, trustee of the Orwell Society, said the plans had been lodged with the blessing of the home’s owner.

She said: “The lettering now is completely unclear and because it is crumbling Portland stone you cannot see it. Therefore it’s time to be given a more legible sign.

“It’s really important to commemorate the presence of George Orwell, Eric Blair, at that particular house.

“I am particularly keen to revive interest in the importance Southwold people and places had in the life led by the young Eric Blair because it was a very formative part of his life, and the time he spent there was very important for his initial stage as a writer.”

The home was where the author, noted for works such as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, resided following his service in Burma. First editions of his travel writing Down and Out in Paris and London were sent to Montague House, while his second novel A Clergyman’s Daughter was completed there.

Mrs Kronbergs said that some of Southwold’s influence made it into his work.

Knype Hill is the fictional name for Southwold in A Clergyman’s Daughter, while the character of Dorothy Hare is modelled on the gym mistress at St Felix School in the early 1930s, Brenda Salkeld.

The character of Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four is also rumoured to be based on Eleanor Jacques – a friend who lived next door to the Blairs when they lived in Stradbroke Road, when they first moved to Southwold, although the origin of this is debated.

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