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Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".
Born: December 16, 1899, Teddington, United Kingdom
Died: March 26, 1973, Port Maria, Jamaica
Education: Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
Lived: 404 E 55th St
Firefly Estate, Firefly Hill Rd., Ocho Rios, Jamaica (18.4035, -76.9384)
Les Avants, 1833, Switzerland (46.4533, 6.9429)
131 Waldegrave Road, Teddington
Lord Milner Hotel, 111 Ebury Street, SW1W
56 Lenham Road, Suttton
37 Chesham Place, SW1X
Algonquin Hotel, 59 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, W1B
Hotel and Café des Artistes, 1 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, USA (40.77341, -73.97892)
17 Gerald Rd, Belgravia, London SW1W 9EH, UK (51.49326, -0.15181)
Prince of Wales Mansions, 70 Prince of Wales Drive, Battersea
The Ritz, London, 150 Piccadilly, W1J
The Savoy Hotel, Strand, WC2R
The Langham, London, 1C Portland Pl, Regent St, W1B
Buried: Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, SW1P 3PA (memorial)
Firefly Estate, Montego Bay, Saint James, Jamaica
St Paul Churchyard, Covent Garden, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England (memorial)
Find A Grave Memorial# 4389
Movies: In Which We Serve, Brief Encounter, Blithe Spirit, more

Sir Noël Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise". Coward's most important relationship, which began in the mid-1940s and lasted until his death, was with South African-born English actor and singer Graham Payn. Coward did not publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, but it was discussed candidly after his death by biographers, including Payn, and in Coward's diaries and letters, published posthumously. On 28 March 1984, the Queen Mother unveiled a memorial stone in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey. Thanked by Payn, for attending, the Queen Mother replied, "I came because he was my friend.” Coward had a 19-year friendship with Prince George, Duke of Kent. Coward reportedly admitted to the historian Michael Thornton that there had been "a little dalliance". Coward said, on the duke's death, "I suddenly find that I loved him more than I knew."

Together from 1945 to 1973: 28 years.
Graham Payn (April 25, 1918 - November 4, 2005)
Sir Noel Peirce Coward (December 16, 1899 – March 26, 1973)

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
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School: The Italia Conti Academy is a co-educational independent school for pupils aged from 10 to 19 years, and a theatre arts training school, based in London, England. It was founded in 1911 by the actress Italia Conti. The academy grew out of the first production of the play Where the Rainbow Ends. Italia Conti, an established actress with a reputation for her success working with young people, was asked to take over the job of training the cast. The play was a triumph and the school was born in basement studios in London’s Great Portland Street. The school moved to a church building at 14 Lamb's Conduit St, London WC1N 3LE. During WWII, the school was bombed, destroying all early records of the school. In 1972 the school moved to a building in Landor Road. It was the home to all full-time Italia Conti pupils for 9 years. In 1981 the school moved again for the final time to Goswell Road. Notable queer alumni and faculty: Gertrude Lawrence (1898–1952), Noël Coward (1899–1973).

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: English Heritage Blue Plaque: 131 Waldegrave Rd, Teddington TW11 8LL, Sir Noël Coward (1899–1973), “Actor, Playwright and Songwriter born here." There is a bust of Coward, sculpted by Avril Vellacott, in Teddington Library, which is only a short distance away.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: Sir Noël Coward (1899-1973), dramatist, actor and composer lived for a few years of his childhood (1906-1909) at 56 Lenham Rd, Sutton SM1 4BG. His first public appearance on stage was on July 23rd 1907 in a concert at Sutton Public Hall when he was about 8 years old.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: Sir Noël Coward (1899-1973), English playwright, actor, director and singer. Most notable works include “Hayfever” (1925), “Blithe Spirit” (1941), his films, “In Which We Serve” (1942, Director, Actor, Screenwriter), “Our Man In Havana” (1959, Actor), “The Italian Job” (1969, Actor). Childhood and adolescent address was 70 Prince of Wales Mansions (Prince of Wales Dr, London SW11 4BG).

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: Nellie Burton kept a lodging house at 40 Half Moon St, Mayfair, London W1J 7BH, before, during, and after the Great War. She let out rooms to single gentlemen who were mostly “so,” and as the house was convenient to the hunting grounds along Piccadilly and in Green Park she acquired a flourishing clientele. Among her distinguished lodgers was Robbie Ross (1869-1918), Oscar Wilde’s literary executor, who spent his declining years here. He brought in his friend Siegfried Sassoon (‘ St. Siegfried’ Burton called him.) Sassoon lodged here during the war and sang her praises in numerous diary entries. Osbert Sitwell would drop by for tea, on one occasion accompanied by Anthony Powell. Sir Roderick Meiklejohn was a regular. The dour Scotsman was private secretary to Herbert Asquith, the prime minister. “He was a homosexual,” Max Egremont, Sassoon’s biographer, reported, “sustained by food, wine, bridge, the classics and obscene poetry.” His curious habit of mumbling and gesticulating wildly at the young men who attracted him made him an object of their mirth. One of these was the young actor Noël Coward, whom he introduced to 40 Half Moon Street. Even the composer Lord Berners, “short, swarthy, bald, dumpy, and simian,” his friend Beverley Nichols called him, was known to take the occasional room.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: Ebury Street was built mostly in the period 1815 to 1860, though the houses near 180 were called Fivefields Row when Mozart lived there in 1764. An area around here called "Eia" is mentioned in the Domesday Book and is the origin of the word "Ebury.”

Address: 182 Ebury St, Belgravia, London SW1W, UK (51.49131, -0.15245)

Place
Ebury Street is a street in Belgravia, City of Westminster, London. It runs from the Grosvenor Gardens junction south-westwards to Pimlico Road. The odd numbers run from 1 to 231 on the east side and even numbers 2 to 230 on the west side. There is a blue plaque at 22b to indicate that Ian Fleming lived here from 1934 to 1945. This building was constructed in 1830 as a Baptist church but is now divided into several flats. In 1847 Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson lived at number 42. During the period immediately following WWI, Number 42 was the workplace or head office of the "Soldiers’ Embroidery Industry.” Textile bags and workboxes were labelled thus, including the words "Made by the Totally Disabled,” i.e. disabled veterans doing rehabilitation work. An early photographer, William Downey (1829 - 1881), had studios at 57 and 61. He made some of the most famous photographs of celebrities of his day--Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde and the then Princess of Wales. At 65-69 is "Ken Lo’s Memories of China" a celebrated restaurant established in 1981 by Ken Lo (1920 - 2001.) At 109/11 is a blue plaque commemorating the actress Edith Evans. At 121 another plaque celebrates George Moore (novelist.) He spent his last years here and wrote “Conversations in Ebury Street” (1924.) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived at Fivefields Row from 5 August to September 24, 1764. The street is now called Mozart Terrace, but numbered in such a way that it is continuous with Ebury Street. At 231 Ebury Street is "La Poule au Pot" an expensive, celebrated restaurant. In 2006 it was voted number one in "Best for business" and "Best for romance" in Harden’s guide. Where Ebury Street meets Pimlico Road is a triangular area with seating and a bronze statue of Mozart (aged 8) by Philip Jackson. The area is unofficially called Mozart Square. The actor Terence Stamp shared a flat on this street with Michael Caine in 1963. Several houses on Ebury Street have been converted to hotels. Lygon Place is a terrace of Grade II listed buildings located off Ebury Street. The terrace dates from about 1900 and is an Arts and Crafts influenced design, by Eustace Balfour and Hugh Thackeray Turner. Notable former residents include Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon. Number 5 was an official residence of the Italian Air Attache. Institutions based here included the Margarine and Shortening Manufacturers’ Association; the Lion Services Club; and the Institution of Highways and Transportation.

Notable queer residents at Ebury Street:
• Playwright and all-round talented man Noël Coward (1899-1973) lived at number 111 Ebury Street, SW1W 9QU, from 1917. His parents ran it as a lodging house. This is where he wrote “The Vortex,” his first significant success. From 1922 onwards Coward travelled extensively, but kept a room at number 111 for whenever he was back in London. For a few years until fairly recently this was named the Noël Coward Hotel in his honour. Today it is the Lord Milner Hotel.
• Godfrey Winn (1906–1971) was an English journalist known as a columnist, and also a writer and actor. His career as a theatre actor began as a boy at the Haymarket Theatre and he appeared in many plays and films. He went on to write a number of novels and biographical works, and became a star columnist for the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Express newspapers, where he wrote "Dear Abby" articles for lovelorn women. Journalists nicknamed him “Winifred God” because of his popularity with women readers. Winn was homosexual, and never married. He lived at 115 Ebury Street, SW1W 9QU.
• English Heritage Blue Plaque: 182 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UP, Harold Nicholson (1886–1968) and Vita Sackville-West (1892–1962), "Writers and Gardeners lived here"

Life
Who: The Hon. Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, CH (March 9, 1892 – June 2, 1962), aka Vita Sackville-West, and Sir Harold George Nicolson KCVO CMG (November 21, 1886 – May 1, 1968)
Vita Sackville-West’s first close friend was Rosamund Grosvenor (1888-1944), who was four years her senior. She was the daughter of Algernon Henry Grosvenor (1864–1907), and the granddaughter of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron Ebury. Vita met Rosamund at Miss Woolf’s school in 1899, when Rosamund had been invited to cheer Vita up while her father was fighting in the Second Boer War. Rosamund and Vita later shared a governess for their morning lessons. As they grew up together, Vita fell in love with Rosamund, whom she called “Roddie” or “Rose” or “the Rubens lady.” Rosamund, in turn, was besotted with Vita. "Oh, I dare say I realized vaguely that I had no business to sleep with Rosamund, and I should certainly never have allowed anyone to find it out," she admits in her journal, but she saw no real conflict: "I really was innocent." Lady Sackville, Vita’s mother, invited Rosamund to visit the family at their villa in Monte Carlo; Rosamund also stayed with Vita at Knole House, at Rue Lafitte in Paris, and at Sluie, Scotland. During the Monte Carlo visit, Vita wrote in her diary, "I love her so much." Upon Rosamund’s departure, Vita wrote, "Strange how little I minded [her leaving]; she has no personality, that’s why." Their secret relationship ended in 1913 when Vita married Sir Harold Nicolson. Rosamund died in London in 1944 during a German V1 rocket raid. Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson had two children: Nigel (1917–2004), who became a well-known editor, politician, and writer, and Benedict (1914–1978), an art historian. In the 1930s, the family acquired and moved to Sissinghurst Castle, near Cranbrook, Kent. Sissinghurst had once been owned by Vita’s ancestors, which gave it a dynastic attraction to her after the loss of Knole.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: This unique property was the home of the renowned English actor and playwright Noël Coward from 1930 to 1956. He used to sit in his studio overlooking the grand reception room writing his famous plays including “Design for Living” and songs like “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”

Address: 17 Gerald Rd, Burton Mews, Westminster, London SW1W 9 SW1W 9EH, UK (51.49326, -0.15181)
English Heritage Building ID: 471102 (Grade II, 1998)

Place
Former coach house and hayloft, concealed behind Nos.13 and 15 Gerald Road. Late XIX century, converted into flats early XX century. No. 17 much remodelled in 1930-56 when occupied by Sir Noël Coward. Stock brick with red brick dressings, painted at ground floor level; slate roofs. Small paned windows with opening casements under gauged brick heads. The ground floor has an elaborate early XX century doorcase in Queen Anne style which has been inserted and some elaborate ironwork over the entrance and to adjoining window with the initials JT. There is a large early XX century casement to the left side elevation and mid-XX century French windows to one side. Interior: a well staircase embellished with finials of carved wooden urns with fruit decoration leads via a corridor with panelled walls and ceiling to the first floor former hayloft which Coward converted into a room with stage at one end, which is said to have had dining alcove below and sleeping arrangements above. The original four wooden bays of the hayloft with iron ties remain but some more elaborate wrought ironwork has been added. There is a bolection-moulded fireplace and two elaborate pairs of double doors. At gallery level there is a purpose-built corner desk with built-in bookcases which overlooks the rest of the hayloft. Separate rooms at first-floor level are his former library which has a bolection-moulded fireplace. A further bedroom has a bolection-moulded fireplace and early XVIII century style panelling. A guest bedroom has a low flight of steps and oak handrail to bathroom.

Life
Who: Sir Noël Peirce Coward (December 16, 1899 – March 26, 1973)
17 Gerald Road was the principal residence of Noël Coward from 1930 until 1956, the most important years of his fame and where he wrote his most popular works. Coward came to prominence in 1924 with “The Vortex,” a controversial play about drug addiction, but it was his nine-year collaboration with C.B. Cochran (from 1925) which established his ascendency in the world of musical comedy and revue. “Private Lives” in 1930 was followed by “Cavalcade” in 1931 and “Design for Living” in 1932, and a string of hits continued with only a brief pause in the early war years. “Blithe Spirit” in 1941 and “In Which We Serve” in 1942 further established his position as the leading popular playwright and songsmith of his generation, his work encapsulating the fine manners and social mores of upper-class England through these years. In the post-war era his personal performances became so successful that in 1956 he left England for tax exile in Bermuda, Switzerland and Jamaica. No. 17 Gerald Road, with its early Georgian fixtures and touches of frivolity, and in particular with its built-in stage and writing desk, perfectly captures the blend of style, wit and tradition that was the key to his success. It is his very personal signature on the building in which he lived for his crucial middle years that make it of special historical interest for listing. Lord Louis Mountbatten gave a defining description of Noël at his 70th birthday celebration in 1969: “There are probably greater painters than Noel, greater novelists than Noel, greater librettists, greater composers of music, greater singers, greater dancers, greater comedians, greater tragedians, greater stage producers, greater film directors, greater cabaret artists, greater TV stars. If there are, they are fourteen different people. Only one man combined all fourteen different labels – “The Master.”

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: Noël Coward (1899-1973) stayed at 37 Chesham Place, SW1X 8HB, whilst giving his last stage performacnes in “Suite for Three Keys.”

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: 450 East 52nd, The Campanile, is a 14-story brick cooperative apartment building overlooking the East River. It was home to celebrities such as Greta Garbo and John Lennon.

Address: The Campanile, 450 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022, USA (40.75405, -73.96328)

Place
In October 1953, Greta purchased a seven-room apartment here. It is located on the fifth floor of the Campanile at 450 East Fifty-second Street. Greta said that she had a hard time getting this apartment. She told a friend that they didn’t like actresses in this building. Her friends George and Valentina Schlee lived on the ninth floor. They may have helped her to get the apartment. The flat was located ideally for Garbo. Situated at the end of a rare Manhattan cul-de-sac, with and unobstructed view up and down the East River. The building had a list of colourful residents, long before Garbo arrived in 1953. The 14-story, brown-brick building is a cooperative and has only 16 apartments and a pool. Garbo was in the middle of Manhattan, any place was near and reachable by foot. Lexington and Madison were just a few blocks away. The Museum of Modern Art was very close and Central Park in easy reach. A cul-de-sac must have given her an additional feel of protection. Any person, following her from her many walks, would have been easily spotted by her when she turned into her street. The Campanile’s newest tenant would take great pleasure in watching the river traffic from her living room window. The quiet cul-de-sac is dotted with high-priced cooperative buildings. Greta’s investment of $38,000 in 1953 was worth well over $1 million in the mid 1990s. Also Noël Coward resided at The Campanile while in New York City.

Life
Who: Greta Lovisa Gustafsson (September 18, 1905 – April 15, 1990) aka Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo died while resident at the Campanile, on April 15, 1990, aged 84, in the hospital, as a result of pneumonia and renal failure. She was cremated in Manhattan, and her ashes were interred in 1999 at Skogskyrkogården Cemetery just south of her native Stockholm.

Queer Places, Vol. 1.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World Authored by Elisa Rolle
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House: 360 E. 55th Street, 404 E. 55th Street and 405 E. 54th Street are known as The Sutton Collection. Located in the heart of Sutton Place, the Sutton Collection is made up of three unique buildings, each building is filled with exceptional architectural details and true New York style that can only be found in the rarest of pre-war properties. At 404 E 55th St, 10022 resided Noël Coward (1899-1973), this was the playwright’s last Manhattan residence.

Queer Places, Vol. 1.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World Authored by Elisa Rolle
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Restaurant/Bar: Café des Artistes was a fine restaurant at One West 67th Street in Manhattan and was owned by George Lang. He closed the restaurant for vacation at the beginning of August 2009 and, while away, decided to keep it closed permanently. He announced the closure on August 28, 2009. His wife, Jenifer Lang, had been the managing director of the restaurant since 1990.

Address: 1 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, USA (40.77341, -73.97892)
Phone: +1 212-877-6263
National Register of Historic Places: West 67th Street Artists' Colony Historic District (1--39 and 40--50 W. 67th St.), 85001522, 1985

Place
The restaurant first opened in 1917. Café des Artistes was designed for the residents of the Hotel des Artistes, since the apartments lacked kitchens. Artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Norman Rockwell, Isadora Duncan and Rudolph Valentino were patrons. In early September 2009, two years into the Great Recession, Lang announced that the café was closing; shortly thereafter, Lang filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, claiming debts of nearly $500,000, some of which was owed to a union benefit trust. At the time, he also faced a lawsuit from the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Welfare Fund. In 2011, a new restaurant, The Leopard at des Artistes, opened in the location. Like its forerunner, it caters to the upper echelon of New York society. The restaurant’s famous murals, retained in the new restaurant’s 2011 renovation, were painted by Howard Chandler Christy, famous artist who also painted Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States that hangs in the US Capitol. Christy was a tenant of the building, Hotel des Artistes, until his death in 1952. There are six panels of wood nymphs - the first of which were completed in 1934. Other Christy works on display include paintings such as The Parrot Girl, The Swing Girl, Ponce De Leon, Fall, Spring, and the Fountain of Youth. Harry Crosby, a tortured poet of the 1920s, killed himself and his girlfriend, Josephine Bigelow, here on December 10, 1929. These luxurious studio apartments have been home to Rudolph Valentino, Norman Rockwell, Isadora Duncan, Fannie Hurst, and Berenice Abbott.

Life
Who: Sir Noël Peirce Coward (December 16, 1899 – March 26, 1973)
While in New York, Noël Coward resided at: Hotel des Artistes (1 W 67th St), The Campanile (450 E 52nd St), and Sutton Place (404 E 55th St, this was the playwright’s last Manhattan residence.)

Queer Places, Vol. 1.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World Authored by Elisa Rolle
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Accomodation: In 1919, the Algonquin Hotel (59 W 44th St, 10036) hosted the Algonquin Round Table, a lunch-time gathering of wits. Members included drama critic Alexander Woollcott and writer Dorothy Parker, Talullah Bankhead, Estelle Winwood, Eva LaGallienne, and Blythe Daly. Overnight guests included Noël Coward, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas.

Queer Places, Vol. 1.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World Authored by Elisa Rolle
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Historic District: Regent Street is a major shopping street in the West End of London. It is named after George, the Prince Regent (later George IV) and was built under the direction of the architect John Nash. The street runs from Waterloo Place in St James's at the southern end, through Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, to All Soul's Church. From there Langham Place and Portland Place continue the route to Regent's Park.

Address: Regent Street, London W1B, UK

Place
• The Langham, London (1C Portland Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 1JA) is one of the largest and best known traditional style grand hotels in London. It is in the district of Marylebone on Langham Place and faces up Portland Place towards Regent's Park. It is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World marketing consortium. Since the XIX century the hotel developed an extensive American clientele, which included Mark Twain and the miserly multi-millionairess, Hetty Green. It was also patronised by the likes of Napoleon III, Oscar Wilde, Antonín Dvořák, and Arturo Toscanini. Arthur Conan Doyle set Sherlock Holmes stories such as “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Sign of Four” partly at the Langham. The Langham continued throughout the XX century to be a favoured spot with members of the royal family, such as Diana, Princess of Wales, and many high-profile politicians including Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle. Other guests included Noël Coward, Wallis Simpson, Don Bradman, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, W. Somerset Maugham and Ayumi Hamasaki. Guy Burgess (1911-1963), one of the “Cambridge Five”, a spying ring who fed official secrets to the Soviets during the Cold War, stayed at the Langham while working for the BBC.
• Horace Walpole (1717-1797) lived in 1743 at 5 Portland Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 1PW.
• Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883), English writer and translator, lived at 39 Portland Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 1QQ, in his childhood. He married Lucy, the daughter of the Quaker poet Bernard Barton in Chichester on 4 November 1856, following a death bed promise to Bernard made in 1849 to look after her. The newly married pair went to Brighton, and then settled for a time at 31 Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 8QG. A few days of married life were enough to disillusionise FitzGerald. The marriage was evidently unhappy, for the couple separated after only a few months, despite having known each other for many years, including collaborating on a book about her father's works in 1849.
• Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was evicted by his landlords as they had heared that he planned to exhibt "erotic" paintings at 2 All Souls' Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 3DA.
• While Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932) was at Charterhouse, his family moved from Hanwell to a house behind All Souls Church in Langham Place (1 All Souls' Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 3DA).

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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Accomodation: The Hotel Café Royal is a five-star hotel at 68 Regent St, Soho, London W1B 4DY. Before its conversion in 2008-2012 it was a restaurant and meeting place. By the 1890s the Café Royal had become the place to see and be seen at. Its patrons have included Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, Noël Coward, Brigitte Bardot, Max Beerbohm, George Bernard Shaw, Jacob Epstein, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. The café was the scene of a famous meeting on 24 March 1895, when Frank Harris advised Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) to drop his charge of criminal libel against the Marquess of Queensberry, father of Alfred Douglas. Queensberry was acquitted, and Wilde was subsequently tried, convicted and imprisoned.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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Accomodation: The Ritz, London (150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR) is a Grade II listed 5-star hotel located in Piccadilly. A symbol of high society and luxury, the hotel is one of the world's most prestigious and best known hotels. It is a member of the international consortium, The Leading Hotels of the World. The hotel was opened by Swiss hotelier César Ritz in May 1906, eight years after he established the Hôtel Ritz Paris. After a weak beginning, the hotel began to gain popularity towards the end of WWI, and became popular with politicians, socialites, writers and actors of the day. Noël Coward (1899-1973) was a notable diner at the Ritz in the 1920s and 1930s. Another notable queer resident was Tallulah Bankhead in 1957.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1532906312 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
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Accomodation: The Savoy Hotel (Strand, London WC2R 0EU) is a luxury hotel in central London. Built by the impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte with profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan opera productions, it opened on August 6, 1889. It was the first in the Savoy group of hotels and restaurants owned by Carte's family for over a century. The Savoy was the first luxury hotel in Britain, introducing electric lights throughout the building, electric lifts, bathrooms in most of the lavishly furnished rooms, constant hot and cold running water and many other innovations. Carte hired César Ritz as manager and Auguste Escoffier as chef de cuisine; they established an unprecedented standard of quality in hotel service, entertainment and elegant dining, attracting royalty and other rich and powerful guests and diners. Notable queer residents: Sarah Bernhardt in 1913, Marlon Brando in 1967, Dorothy Caruso in 1902, Noël Coward from 1941 to 1943, Sergei Diaghilev in 1919, Marlene Dietrich from 1924 to 1925, Cary Grant in 1966, Katharine Hepburn, Vaslav Nijinsky in 1911, Oscar Wilde.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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House: In the 1950s, Noël Coward left the UK for tax reasons, receiving harsh criticism in the press. He first settled in Bermuda but later bought houses in Jamaica and Switzerland (in the village of Les Avants, near Montreux), which remained his homes for the rest of his life. His expatriate neighbours and friends included Joan Sutherland, David Niven, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards in Switzerland and Ian Fleming and his wife Ann in Jamaica. Coward was a witness at the Flemings’ wedding, but his diaries record his exasperation with their constant bickering.

Address: Les Avants, 1833, Switzerland (46.4533, 6.9429)

Place
In 1958, Noël Coward went to Switzerland and settled in Les Avants in upper Montreux. He bought a spacious chalet with a lush vegetable garden, set in a large estate surrounded by forests. The property had belonged to an English family called the Petries, and Noel Coward had seen the ad in the London Daily Telegraph. The actor renovated the residence and welcomed many artists and friends such as Vivian Leigh, Peter Ustinov and Graham Greene. When Coward died peacefully at his home in Jamaica in March 1973, both Graham Payn and Cole Lesley were with him. Much of his Jamaican property was handed over to the Jamaican Government but Payn and Lesley returned to his Swiss chalet from where Lesley administered the Coward Estate with his customary efficiency. When Lesley died in 1980, Payn took on the role of Executor, a role he had never anticipated and always felt himself ill-qualified to play. It was a role that would gain him no column inches in the newspapers but for the next twenty five years he quietly succeeded in managing a complex estate with charm, tact, firmness and an unwavering sense of “what Noël would have wanted.”

Life
Who: Sir Noël Peirce Coward (December 16, 1899 – March 26, 1973) and Graham Payn (April 25, 1918 – November 4, 2005)
Graham Payn was brought to England as a young boy by his opera singer mother. There, he found early success as a boy soprano. It was at an audition for Coward’s 1932 revue, “Words and Music” where he first met the man himself. Even the world-weary Coward had never before seen a 13-year old sing “Nearer My God To Thee” while doing a tap dance and his stunned reaction was reported to be simply, “We’ve got to have that kid in the show!.” It would be the first of his many Coward shows. During the war years Payn, who was by now a professional singer and dancer specialising in West End revues, was signed by Coward for his own post-war revue, “Sigh No More,” where he achieved great success with “Matelot,” a song that was associated with him for the rest of his life. The show had another lasting legacy, as Coward’s nickname for his new found friend, “Little Lad” was derived from another song which featured in the same revue. Following his personal success in “Words and Music,” Payn was welcomed into the Coward “family,” which included Cole Lesley, who was Coward’s personal assistant, Lorne Loraine, his secretary, the designer Gladys Calthrop and actress Joyce Carey. Payn was to survive his friends by many years. Noël Coward lived in upper Montreux from 1958 until his death. Born in 1899 in the poor London suburb of Teddington, he embarked in the theater at a very young age, making his stage debut in 1909. At the age of 15, he was already a well-known actor and began writing plays and composing songs and operettas. The actor was in fact a piano virtuoso. After WWII, Noel Coward pursued acting, both comedy and tragedy, and wrote novels and poetry. The actor and composer worked a lot and also devoted time to his hobby of painting, which is why he was not often seen in the village. In 1970, Noel Coward was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. His reputation only continued to grow and many people considered him to be the English Sacha Guitry. Noel Coward died in his second home in Jamaica at the age of 73. Part of his collection of books has been donated to the Musée du Vieux-Montreux. Graham Payn, lifelong friend of Noël Coward, and sole remaining Executor of Coward’s Estate, died in Les Avants near Montreux, Switzerland on 2nd November 2005 at the age of 87 and his buried at Cimetière de Clarens-Montreux (1815 Montreux).

Queer Places, Vol. 3.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1544068435 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1544068433
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Church: In the chapel of St John the Baptist in Westminster Abbey there is the tomb of Mary Kendall (died March 13, 1709/1710) dating from 1710 with an inscription recording: "That close Union and Friendship, In which she lived, with the Lady Catharine Jones (died April 23, 1740); And in testimony of which she desir’d That even their Ashes, after Death, Might not be divided.”

Address: 20 Dean’s Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK (51.49929, -0.1273)
Hours: Monday and Tuesday 9.30-15.30, Wednesday 9.30-18.00, Thursday and Friday 9.30-15.30, Saturday 9.30-13.30
Phone: +44 20 7222 5152
Website: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/

Place
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the most notable religious buildings in the United Kingdom and has been the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. Between 1540 and 1556 the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, however, the building is no longer an abbey nor a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign. The building itself is the original abbey church. According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site (then known as Thorn Ey (Thorn Island)) in the VII century, at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245, on the orders of King Henry III. Since 1066, when Harold Godwinson and William the Conqueror were crowned, the coronations of English and British monarchs have been held there. There have been at least 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100. Two were of reigning monarchs (Henry I and Richard II), although, before 1919, there had been none for some 500 years.

Notable queer burials at Westminster Abbey:
• Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665-1714). Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, became close to the young Princess Anne in about 1675, and the friendship grew stronger as the two grew older. Correspondence between the Duchess and the Queen reveals that the two women enjoyed a royally passionate romance. They called each other pet names: Sarah was “Mrs. Freeman” and Anne was “Mrs. Morley.” When Anne came to the throne in 1702, she named Sarah “Lady of the Bedchamber.” Anne and Sarah were virtually inseparable; no king’s mistress had ever wielded the power granted to the Duchess. Over time, Sarah became overconfident in her position and developed an arrogant attitude toward Anne, even going to far as to insult the queen in public. A cousin of Sarah’s, Abigail Hill, caught the Queen’s eye during Sarah’s frequent absences from Court, and eventually replaced her in Anne’s affections. After her final break with Anne in 1711, Sarah and her husband were dismissed from the court. Sarah enjoyed a "long and devoted" relationship with her husband of more than 40 years, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. The money she inherited from the Marlborough trust left her one of the richest women in Europe.
• Sir Frederick Ashton (1904–1988), ballet dancer and choreographer, Memorial in Poet’s Corner (buried St Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Yaxley)
• W. H. Auden (1907-1973), poet and essayist. A memorial stone was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey in 1974, adjoining the grave of John Masefield. Another memorial is at Christ College Cathedral, Oxford, where he graduated (buried Kirchstetten, Austria) (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Robert Baden-Powell (1857–1941) was a British Army officer, writer, author of Scouting for Boys which was an inspiration for the Scout Movement, founder and first Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association and founder of the Girl Guides. In the south aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey, against the screen of St George’s chapel, there is a memorial stone to Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, by W.Soukop. Both are buried in Kenya and each had a memorial service held at the Abbey (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), Prime Minister, memorial. A memorial to Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, was unveiled in the nave of Westminster Abbey in 1997. Designed by Donald Buttress and cut by I.Rees (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• Francis Beaumont (1584–1616) was a dramatist in the English Renaissance theatre, most famous for his collaborations with John Fletcher (1579–1625.) According to a mid-century anecdote related by John Aubrey, they lived in the same house on the Bankside in Southwark, "sharing everything in the closest intimacy." About 1613 Beaumont married Ursula Isley, daughter and co-heiress of Henry Isley of Sundridge in Kent, by whom he had two daughters, one posthumous. Francis Beaumont and his brother Sir John Beaumont are both buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, at the entrance to St Benedict's chapel near Chaucer's monument. Fletcher died in 1625 and is buried inside the Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA. On 1November 6, 1996 the cathedral became a focus of controversy when it hosted a twentieth-anniversary service for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. In 1997 openly gay cleric, Jeffrey John became Canon Chancellor and Theologian of the Cathedral (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Aphra Behn (1640-1689) was a British playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer from the Restoration era. Behn’s close association with royalty, especially her friendship with the King’s mistress, Nell Gwyn, and her long-standing liaison with John Hoyle (died 1692), whose affairs with other men were notorious, made Behn a prime subject for court and theater gossip. Just as Behn was notorious for presenting sensational subjects on stage despite societal taboos, she achieved a reputation for unusually explicit accounts of erotic and sexual episodes in her poems. Many of these celebrated gay male and lesbian relationships. She was buried in the east cloister of Westminster Abbey, near the steps up into the church. The inscription on her tombstone, written by John Hoyle, reads: "Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be Defence enough against Mortality." John Hoyle was stabbed to death on May 1692 and is buried in the vault of the Inner Temple church, Temple, London EC4Y 7BB) (Location in the Abbey: Cloisters; East Cloister).
• William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649–1709) and King William III of England (1650-1702), are buried next to Queen Mary II. King William III is buried in great simplicity in the South Aisle of the Chapel of Henry VI, and his companion William Bentinck is buried in a vault nearby. Several members of the Bentinck family are buried in the Ormond vault at the eastern end of Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. None have monuments but their names and dates of death were added to the vaultstone in the late XIX century (Location in the Abbey: Lady Chapel).
• Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) died at 4:46 pm on April 23, 1915 in a French hospital ship moored in a bay off the island of Skyros in the Aegean on his way to the landing at Gallipoli. As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, he was buried at 11 pm in an olive grove on Skyros, Greece. His grave remains there today. On 11 November 1985, Brooke was among 16 WWI poets commemorated on a slate monument unveiled in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
• Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), musician and composer. In the north choir (or Musicians) aisle in Westminster Abbey there is a memorial stone. Britten refused a formal burial since he wanted to be buried beside his partner Peter Pears (Location in the Abbey: North Quire Aisle).
• Robert Browning (1812-1889), poet, is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. He was born on 7 May 1812 in London, a son of Robert Browning (1782-1866) and Sarah (Wiedemann). He married Elizabeth Barrett, a famous poet in her own right, in September 1846 (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• George, 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824). The memorial stone in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey was given by the Poetry Society and unveiled on May 8, 1969 (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Noël Coward (1899-1973), composer and playwright. A memorial was unveiled in 1984 in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. The black marble stone was cut by Ralph Beyer. Thanked by Coward’s partner, Graham Payn, for attending, the Queen Mother replied, "I came because he was my friend" (Location in the Abbey: South Quire Aisle).
• Major-General Sir Herbert Edwardes (1819–1868) was an administrator, soldier, and statesman active in the Punjab, India. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery. A memorial by sculptor William Theed junior, is on the wall of the west aisle of the north transept of Westminster Abbey. He is also commemorated by a stained glass window in the chapel of King’s College London. Brigadier-General John Nicholson (1822–1857) was a Victorian era military officer known for his role in British India. Nicholson never married, the most significant people in his life being his brother Punjab administrators Sir Henry Lawrence and Herbert Edwardes. At Bannu, Nicholson used to ride one hundred and twenty miles every weekend to spend a few hours with Edwardes, and lived in his beloved friend’s house for some time when Edwardes’ wife Emma was in England. At his deathbed he dictated a message to Edwardes saying, "Tell him that, if at this moment a good fairy were to grant me a wish, my wish would be to have him here next to my mother." The love between him and Edwardes made them, as Edwardes’ wife latter described it "more than brothers in the tenderness of their whole lives.” In the retaking of Delhi, India, Nicholson led 2,000 men (mostly British, Pathan, and Punjabi troops) through the Kashmiri Gate in Delhi. Mortally wounded he died at the hour of British victory and is buried at New Delhi (Location in the Abbey: North Transept).
• George Eliot (1819-1880) was not buried in Westminster Abbey because of her denial of the Christian faith and her "irregular" though monogamous life with Lewes. She was buried in Highgate Cemetery (East), Highgate, London, in the area reserved for religious dissenters and agnostics, beside the love of her life, George Henry Lewes. On 2June 1, 1980 a memorial stone was unveiled in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. Stone by John Skelton (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• Thomas Gray (1716-1771)’s biographer William Mason erected a memorial to him, designed by John Bacon the Elder, in the east aisle of Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey in 1778. (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner)
• Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), Poet. A memorial stone was unveiled in 1975 in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. By sculptor David Peace (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• A. E. Housman (1859-1936), poet, has a memorial panel in the window above Chaucer's monument in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner). he has a memorial also at St Laurence (College Street, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1AN).
• Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon (1661-1723), was the only son of Henry and his first wife Theodosia, daughter of Lord Capel. As Viscount Cornbury was governor of New York from 1702 to 1708. He had a very bad reputation and "his character and conduct were equally abhorred in both hemispheres". He secretly married Catherine O'Brien in 1688 and died in obscurity and debt. His only surviving son Edward as Lord Clifton took his seat in the House of Lords but died unmarried of a fever after a drinking bout. His daughter Theodosia married John Bligh, later Earl of Darnley, and both were buried in the vault (Location in the Abbey: North ambulatory)
• Henry James (1843-1916), American born novelist. On June 17, 1976 a memorial stone was unveiled in Poets’ Corner Westminster Abbey by his great grand-nephew. Cut by Will Carter (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• James Kendall, politician and governor of Barbados, is buried in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. James’s niece Mary Kendall was buried in the chapel of St John the Baptist in the Abbey and has a monument there with a kneeling alabaster figure of herself. The inscription, written by the Dean of Westminster Francis Atterbury, reads: "Mrs Mary Kendall daughter of Thomas Kendall Esqr. and of Mrs Mary Hallet, his wife, of Killigarth in Cornwall, was born at Westminster Nov.8 1677 and dy’d at Epsome March 4 1709/10, having reach’d the full term of her blessed Saviour’s life; and study’d to imitate his spotless example. She had great virtues, and as great a desire of concealing them: was of a severe life, but of an easy conversation; courteous to all, yet strictly sincere; humble, without meanness; beneficient, without ostentation; devout, without superstition. These admirable qualitys, in which she was equall’d by few of her sex, surpass’d by none, render’d her every way worthy of that close uion and friendship in which she liv’d with the Lady Catherine Jones; and in testimony of which she desir’d that even their ashes, after death, might not be divided: and, therefore, order’d her selfe here to be interr’d where, she knew, that excellent Lady design’d one day to rest, near the grave of her belov’d and religious mother, Elizabeth, Countess of Ranelagh. This monument was erected by Capt. Charles Kendall." Her name was inscribed on the vault stone in front of the monument in the late XIX century. Mary’s father Thomas Kendall, son of a merchant, died in 1684 and Mary lived with the Earl of Ranelagh’s family while James was in the West Indies. Lady Catherine Jones (d.1740) was the Earl’s daughter. Charles was Mary’s cousin and was in the Royal Navy. Her estates were left to her cousin Canon Nicholas Kendall. The coats of arms show those for Kendall and also "or, a chief gules overall on a bend engrailed sable three bezants" for Hallet.
• Herbert, 1st Earl Kitchener (1850-1916), Sirdar of the Egyptian army (Commander in Chief), is remembered on the altar in the south aisle of the Lady Chapel (Location in the Abbey: Lady Chapel)
• D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), novelist and poet. A memorial stone was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey on 1November 6, 1985. By David Parsley (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).
• In July 2002, a memorial window to Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) – a gift of the Marlowe Society – was unveiled in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. Controversially, a question mark was added to the generally accepted date of death. On 2October 5, 2011 a letter from Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells was published by The Times newspaper, in which they called on the Dean and Chapter to remove the question mark on the grounds that it "flew in the face of a mass of unimpugnable evidence.” In 2012, they renewed this call in their e-book Shakespeare Bites Back, adding that it "denies history,” and again the following year in their book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt. (Buried St Nicholas Churchyard, Deptford)
• Just inside the west door of Westminster Abbey there is a memorial brass, by Christopher Ironside, to Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979) and his wife, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. He was Admiral of the Fleet (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• It has been said that the greatest love of Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727)’s life was with a fellow mathematician, Fatio de Duillier. They collaborated for several years, and when they broke up over an argument in 1693, Newton suffered symptoms of a nervous breakdown. Fatio assisted John Conduitt (Newton’s nephew) in planning the design, and writing the inscription for Newton’s monument in Westminster Abbey. His large monument is by William Kent and J.M.Rysbrack. Newton has also a Memorial at Trinity College, Cambridge. Fatio died in 1753 and was buried at the church of St. Nicholas, Worcester (Location in the Abbey: Nave).
• After being ill for the last twenty-two years of his life, Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) died of renal failure on 11 July 1989 at his home near Steyning, West Sussex. His cremation was held three days later. The ashes of the greatest actor of his generation, are buried in the south transept of Westminster Abbey. His stone was cut by I.Rees (Location in the Abbey: South Transept).
• Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), poet. Memorial in the Poet’s Corner. The inscription on the stone is taken from Owen’s "Preface" to his poems; "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." (Buried Ors Communal Cemetery, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France)
• Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902). A small tablet was unveiled in Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey in 1953 (Location in the Abbey: Lady Chapel).
• Seigfried Sassoon (1886-1967), poet. Memorial in the Poet’s Corner. (Buried St Andrew Churchyard, Mells, Somerset)
• Henry John Alexander Seely (1899-1963), 2nd Lord Mottistone, of the architect firm of Seely & Paget, re-built several of the houses in Little Cloister, Westminster Abbey, after war damage. A statue by Edwin Russell remembers him (Location in the Abbey: St Catherine's Chapel Garden; Little Cloister).
• Robert Stewart (1769-1822), Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquis of Londonderry, politician, was buried in the centre of the north transept of Westminster Abbey. His statue is by sculptor John Evan Thomas (Location in the Abbey: North Transept).
• George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) and King James I of England (1566-1625) are buried in the Henry VII Chapel. King James I’s tomb was lost and not rediscovered until 1869. On His Majesty’s left is the magnificent tomb of his lover George Villiers. On his right is the tomb (with huge bronze figures representing Hope, Truth, Charity and Faith) of Ludovic Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1574-1624), son of one of his earliest lovers, Esme Stuart.
• On 14 February 1995 a small stained glass memorial was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey for Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), playwright and aesthete (Location in the Abbey: South Transept; Poets' Corner).

Queer Places, Vol. 2.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1532906312 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1532906315
CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/6228833
Amazon print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532906315/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
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House: Noël Coward died at his home, Firefly Estate, in Jamaica on March 26, 1973 of heart failure and was buried three days later on the brow of Firefly Hill, overlooking the north coast of the island.

Address: Firefly Hill Rd., Ocho Rios, Jamaica (18.4035, -76.9384)
Hours: Monday through Thursday 9.00-17.00, Saturday 9.00-17.00
Phone: 997-7201 or 994-0920

Place
Built in 1956
Firefly Estate, located 10 km (6 mi) east of Oracabessa, Jamaica, is the burial place of Sir Noël Coward and his former vacation home. It is now listed as a National Heritage Site by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. Although the setting is Edenic, the house is surprisingly spartan, considering that he often entertained jet-setters and royalty. The building has been transformed into a writer’s house museum. Noël Coward’s mountaintop Jamaican home and burial site was originally owned by the infamous pirate and one-time governor of Jamaica, Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688.) The property offered a commanding view of the St. Mary harbour, and Morgan used it as a lookout. As part of the hideaway, Morgan had caused a secret escape tunnel to be dug, opening at Port Maria. Named for the luminous insects seen in the warm evenings, Firefly estate has entertained a wide range of guests, including both the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Alec Guinness, Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, and neighbours Errol Flynn, Ruth Bryan Owen and Ian Fleming. "An Englishman has an inalienable right to live wherever he chooses,” said Winston Churchill, who instructed Coward in oil-painting technique while visiting at Firefly. The Firefly art studio holds Coward’s paintings and photographs of his coterie of famous friends, including Laurence Olivier, Errol Flynn and Marlene Dietrich. Of his time at the Firefly estate, Coward wrote in his diary: "Firefly has given me the most valuable benison of all: time to read and write and think and get my mind in order . . . I love this place, it deeply enchants me. Whatever happens to this silly world, nothing much is likely to happen here." Writing, he believed, came easier when he was here, "the sentences seemed to construct themselves, the right adjectives appeared discretely at the right moment. Firefly has magic for me. . . ." Coward died of myocardial infarction at Firefly on March 26, 1973, aged 73 and is buried in a marble tomb in the garden near the spot where he would sit at dusk watching the sun set as he sipped his brandy with ginger ale chaser and looked out to sea and along the lush green coast spread out beneath him. A statue of him gazing out over the blue harbour graces the lawn. The stone hut on the lawn that was once a lookout for Henry Morgan, then converted to a bar by Sir Noël, is now a gift shop and restaurant. On one of Firefly’s walls is written his last poem. It begins:
When I have fears, as Keats had fears,
Of the moment I’ll cease to be,
I console myself with vanished years,
Remembered laughter, remembered tears,
And the peace of the changing sea.

Life
Who: Sir Noël Peirce Coward (December 16, 1899 – March 26, 1973) and Graham Payn (April 25, 1918 – November 4, 2005)
Sir Noël Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise.” Coward did not publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, but it was discussed candidly after his death by biographers including Payn, his long-time partner, and in Coward’s diaries and letters, published posthumously. Coward’s most important relationship, which began in the mid-1940s and lasted until his death, was with South African stage and film actor Graham Payn. Coward featured Payn in several of his London productions. Payn later co-edited with Sheridan Morley a collection of Coward’s diaries, published in 1982. Coward’s other relationships included the playwright Keith Winter, actors Louis Hayward and Alan Webb, his manager John (Jack) C. Wilson (1899–1961) and the composer Ned Rorem, who published details of their relationship in his diaries. Coward had a 19-year friendship with Prince George, Duke of Kent, but biographers differ on whether it was platonic. Payn believed that it was, though Coward reportedly admitted to the historian Michael Thornton that there had been "a little dalliance.” Coward said, on the duke’s death, "I suddenly find that I loved him more than I knew." On March 28, 1984 a memorial stone was unveiled by the Queen Mother in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. Thanked by Coward’s partner, Graham Payn, for attending, the Queen Mother replied, "I came because he was my friend." After Coward died in 1973, Payn’s career for the rest of his life became the administration of the Coward estate. Barry Day wrote, "It was not a job he ever wanted or expected but he brought to it a dedication and focus that Noël would have been surprised and pleased to see. He was thrust into his biggest role and played it as he knew Noël would have wanted him to. It was a fitting farewell performance." Coward’s biographer, Philip Hoare, wrote, "Graham disproved his partner’s assessment of himself as “an illiterate little sod” by publishing his memoir and by managing the Coward estate. He was a generous, uncomplicated man, and he will be missed by his many friends." In 1988, 15 years after Coward’s death, Payn, who "hadn’t the heart to use it again,” gave their Jamaican home, the Firefly Estate, to the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. He retained their other home in Switzerland, where he died in 2005, aged 87.

Queer Places, Vol. 3.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1544068435 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1544068433
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