The writer Edward Morgan Forster lived at Rooks Nest House from 1883 to 1893, from the ages of 4 to 14. In later life he returned there often, as the guest of composer Elizabeth Poston.
His novel Howards End was inspired by his childhood home and its surrounding countryside. Forster’s writing is studied in schools, colleges and universities throughout the world. His work is concerned with themes that are still current today, including:-
- human relationships,
- conflicts of loyalty
- the need for connection between apparent opposites such as commerce and culture, poetry and prose,
He is constantly quoted in newspapers and has the distinction that one of his short stories is available in full on the Internet.
In 1946, when he took part in the first campaign to save the countryside around his old home from development, Forster said in a radio broadcast,
“I was brought up as a boy...in a district which I still think the loveliest in England .”
On 19th October 1960, The Guardian newspaper coined the name “Forster Country” for this area north of Stevenage. By this name it is known throughout the world. Students, scholars and the general public come here from Europe, America, Canada, Australia and Japan. In 1979, the centenary of Forster’s birth, over 2,000 people came to Stevenage on account of the Forster connection.