09 January 2015


For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.
T. S.  Eliot, ‘The Dry Salvages’, Four Quartets 

Last Sunday, 4th January, marked the 50th anniversary of T. S. Eliot’s death. Kathleen and I have produced a little film about Eliot’s time as a resident of Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead during the First World War. It touches tangentially on the life of Mina Loy, the woman known as the ‘forgotten Modernist’, who grew up in Compayne Gardens.

The film also features a portrait of Eliot and some Eliotesque London street scenes by yet another former resident of West Hampstead, photographer Bill Brandt, an important social documentarian of twentieth-century British life.

Portrait of T. S. Eliot by Cecil Beaton, 1956.
Beaton’s ‘Aunt Jesse’, who was married to the Bolvian Consul-General,
lived at 74 Compayne Gardens throughout his Edwardian childhood.


  1. Dear Edward,

    Just to say, I think your Elliot film is excellent.

    I am a historian of West Hampstead and Kilburn.
    You say that Augustus John had a studio in Sherriff Road, do you have reference for this?

    Best wishes,
    Dick Weindling

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. [Sorry, the deletion above was me - here it is again]

    Wonderful film! I've been inside that house because I used to work for the housing co-op that owns/owned it. It's very different from the regal Haigh-Wood abode that was portrayed in the film "Tom And Viv", though! Thanks so much for this, and also for the lovely reading of his lines.

  4. Dear Edward,

    An excellent film. I have shared it with friends from Iceland to Plymouth. I live in West Hampstead.

    Best wishes,

    Mats Wikberg