Tite Street then and now


This LIFE magazine photo of Oscar Wilde’s home at 34 Tite Street, Chelsea, is fascinating for Wilde aficionados in being a far more detailed view of the “House Beautiful” exterior than one ever finds in books about the writer. No information as to when it was taken but from the look of the print it was probably some time just before or after 1900.


Google Earth lets us examine Tite Street as it is today, with Oscar’s house looking relatively unchanged aside from the blue plaque which informs people that he once lived there. What you can’t see in this picture is the opposite side of the street which now contains a particularly dreary housing development from the 1960s. Oscar and his contemporaries in the area—many of whom were artists—wouldn’t have been impressed at all.

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4 thoughts on “Tite Street then and now”

  1. Seeing the copies of the pictures reminded mt that I lived in the house for about 9 months during 1962. I recall living in a room on the third floor dark and small with but a single bed, wardrobe, gas fire and a gas ring whi I used to cook my meals and constantly requiring a shilling (10p today) to keep going.
    The walls were tall, dark and a lot of paintings were on the walls

    An older land lady lived on the middle floor and as you climbed the stairs there she was, an imposing woman of about 70 plus waiting for whatever!
    My memory is that I paid four pound a week!!
    It was a wonderful place to stay for a single young man of under 20 and prior to departing for Australia.
    The experience and memory has been with me for over 50 years and often I reflect on my time there. Regards, David

  2. Imagine the famous artists and writers that once visited the Wilde home! From Mark Twain, Lillie Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt, Shaw, Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Swinburne, William Morris and not to forget the infamous Queensberry! How worn the steps are today, Oscar lives on!

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