Keats in Shanklin 200 – A thing of beauty if a joy forever


L-R Volunteer Len Griffin, Mayoress Esther Knight, Mayor Steve Knight, Dave Woodward (Keats Cottage), and Library Co-ordinator Maria Darbon

Shanklin Town Mayor, Steve Knight, and Mayoress Esther Knight, opened an exhibition of works by John Keats, in Shanklin Community Library, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his stay in Shanklin, in the summer of 1819.

Mayor Steve Knight said ‘Shanklin is proud of it’s cultural roots, and Keats’ stays in Shanklin are reflected in his ‘A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever’ quote.

The quote from Keat’s Endymion is featured across the Island and marked by a plaque on Keats Green Shanklin – with the Anniversary of Keat’s stay being recognised in Shanklin’s 2019 Carnivals, with a special quiz sponsored by Dave Woodward from Keats Cottage.

Library Co-ordinator Maria Darbon added ‘Volunteers at the Library thought it was important to highlight the work of John Keats, and the inspiration that his stays here gave to his literary works’.

Research uncovered a 1819 letter from Keats including ‘It is more than a fortnight since I left Shanklin chiefly for the purpose of being near a tolerable Library, which after all is not to be found in this place. However we like it very much: it is the pleasantest Town I ever was in, and has the most recommendations of any.’

Shanklin’s current library is in the process of being relocated to Falcon Cross, as part of a significant investment by the Town Council, and outline planning has been approved, with detailed construction drawings being produced.

Steve concluded ‘Visitors and residents alike are welcome to visit the Library to see the exhibition and access the range of services available – we are grateful to all the volunteers for making this happen.