Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809-1892, poetic voice of the 19th century, would have been 200 years old in 2009. He was born in Somersby, in the wolds of Lincolnshire, and his imagination was moulded with the beauty of the countryside of his childhood.
Alfred Tennyson was the most famous poet of the Victorian age, the first ever poet to become a lord and the first poet to amass a considerable fortune by his writing. His poetry defines the private and public concerns of the 19th century. Born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, in 1809, Tennyson was one of the eleven surviving children of the Rev. George Clayton Tennyson and Elizabeth Fytche. He grew up in the Lincolnshire wolds, attending school in Louth, enjoying holidays in Mablethorpe and developing the poetic sensibility which would produce The Lady of Shalott and the Lotos Eaters. The family left Lincolnshire in 1837 but the influence of Lincolnshire and its scenery remained evident in his poetry throughout his life. He published poetry in Lincolnshire dialect long after he had left. In 1850, Tennyson published In Memoriam, the poem that was to become the characteristic poem of its time. In the same year he married Emily Sellwood from Horncastle and became the Poet Laureate. His popularity was assured with publication of further works such as Maud, Idylls of the King and Enoch Arden. Among his friends and admirers were Gladstone, Browning, Edward Lear, Edward itsgerald, Julia Margaret Cameron, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. Tennyson died on 6th October 1892 at his home Aldworth on the Surrey/Sussex border, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
The Tennyson Research Centre
The Tennyson Research Centre, in the dome of Lincoln Central Library, is the most significant collection on Alfred Tennyson in the world.
Highlights for the visitor include:
The letter of sympathy from Queen Victoria to Tennyson on the death of his son
The copy of Through the Looking Glass that Lewis Carroll gave to Tennyson
Prince Albert’s letter to Tennyson asking for his autograph
The altered drafts of The Charge of The Light Brigade
Cameron’s photographs of ‘King Arthur’ Hand-illustrated editions by enthusiastic amateurs
For information on the contents of the other libraries, letters and illustrations, please contact Grace Timmins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Victoria Sandbrook, Ben Stoker, Linda Richardson, Rachel Traves and Ros Boyce for all their hard work in typing the data.
Lincolnshire County Council