Forster Country Landscape Forster Country Landscape 

The Hilton of Howards End is Stevenage of a century ago.   

Hilton is first described in chapter 3, as a long village on the Great North Road, now Stevenage Old Town, with residential estates either side.

In chapter 11, the grave diggers at St Nicholas church can see over the town and go home via The Avenue.  Margaret Wilcox's walk up The Avenue to Howards End is much later, chapter 23.

The station was in Julian's Road alongside the bridge.  The railway approach to the town, through the tunnels and over the Digswell viaduct with a view of the Six Hills is described on chapters 3 and 41.

Margaret did not enjoy a motor journey (chapter 23) from London to Hilton; the weather was grey and the Great North Road was clogged with Bank Holiday traffic!  They came first to Charles Wilcox's villa, almost opposite the Six Hills, which were on the east side of the Great   North Road. (Today this stretch of the road remains as a cycle track and a modern road has been built to the east of the hills). They then went on to Howards End.

The house is first described in a letter at the start of the novel.  Later, in chapter 23, Margaret explores the house on her own, after that car journey.

In the appendix to the Penguin edition of Howards End, Forster reminisces about his childhood home, describing the house and its surroundings.

The story of Forster's childhood at Rooks Nest and his later associations with Stevenage and its countryside are described in Forster Country by Margaret Ashby, published by Flaunden Press, 1991, ISBN 0951824201, price £14.95.  Enquiries about purchase posted on the Contact Us page of the website will be forwarded to the author.

 

 

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