In London if you see a blue plaque on a building, this means a building of the present is being linked with someone famous from the past.
If you are visiting Hampstead Heath you could pass by the house once inhabited by Katherine Mansfield (14 October 1888 – 9 January 1923), one of the most famous short story writers of the last century with short stories such as ‘The Garden Party‘ and ‘At the Bay‘. She has been a large influence on modern creative writing as she opened the door to new ways of writing. She has a blue plaque on a house she once lived in right opposite the Heath.
Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington, New Zealand to parents who were well known on the social circuit (her father became Chair of the Bank of New Zealand) and was brought up there. Her first stories showed up in her high school magazine. When she was 19, she left New Zealand to settle in the UK where she became a friend of other modernist writers associated with the Bloomsbury Group such as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. She was a bit of a rebel in her time and said ‘I shall not be fashionable long.’ In fact, she is New Zealand’s most famous international writer and has stayed the test of time.
She sadly died very young. During the First World War she contracted tuberculosis, a deadly disease of the day, and passed away age 34.
If you love writing and would like to bask in the history of one of New Zealand’s greatest writers then this is an excellent place to visit.