The Clifton Hotel, Scarborough

 

The Clifton Hotel - Scarborough

(formerly the CLARENCE GARDENS)

This recent photograph is of the Clifton Hotel in North Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire, formerly the Clarence Gardens, the Officer’s Mess where in 1917 Owen occupied one of the turret rooms. Owen’s responsibilities here were those of Mess Secretary involving him in an abundance of clerical work. He escaped from this and other duties into his turret bedroom where he wrote and drafted the poems that were growing in his consciousness. This was where the first of his poems to be published, "Miners" developed out of a vision in the glowing coal not only of the bodies of men killed in the mines but of the bodies of soldiers killed underground with the Royal Engineers’ Tunnelling Companies during the war.

Second Lieutenant Philip Bainbrigge of the 5th battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, a poet and a former schoolmaster at Shrewsbury School-a pleasing coincidence for Owen- was in an army camp near Scarborough and was able to visit Owen from time to time.

Owen decided to change his servant and chose a badly wounded man who had been with him in the line at Serre and at Beaumont Hamel. Owen noticed that the soldier's boots were still shell-torn. Presumably the man had never been issued with a fresh pair.

On the 12th March 1918 Owen arrived at Ripon Camp. His way back to the front was about to begin.

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