This brightly coloured house at number 22 Portobello Road was the first London home where George Orwell lodged with Mrs Craig during the winter of 1927 after resigning as Assistant Superintendent of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. This top row of houses has kept their individual rural appearance in this busy part of Notting Hill.
Eric Blair, who became better known as George Orwell, was not born in London, although he lived a great deal of his life there. His last home in London was 27b Canonbury Square, Islington. Now a very desirable and expensive part of London, in the summer of 1944 it was a rather shabby, bombed out and neglected place.
His flat on the top floor was both draughty and depressing. He moved in with his wife Eileen and baby son Richard. He had lived at many London addresses, but Canonbury Square with its blue plaque (old L.C.C green plaque) would count as his main London address, as here he wrote what many consider his masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four. He wrote it in 1948 and reversed the last two digits of the date. His most noted works are Down and Out in Paris and London, for which he went on the road as a tramp without money, as a piece of investigative journalism; The Road to Wigan Pier, for which he went down coal mines to find out the hardships that befell the coal miners of the North; Animal Farm where farm animals lived a Communist existence, with the pigs as the rulers; and Nineteen Eighty-Four with Big Brother watching people's every move. With the CCTV cameras of today watching every move that Londoners make, some say it was very prophetic, and today's society is often referred to as Orwellian. He died at the University College Hospital private patients' wing in Grafton Way on Saturday 21 January 1952 of a lung haemorrhage.
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