elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
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elisa_rolle

George Merrill (1866 – January 10, 1928)

George Merrill was the lifelong partner of English poet and LGBT activist Edward Carpenter. Merrill, a working-class young man who had been raised in the slums of Sheffield, had no formal education.
Born: 1866, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Died: January 1928, Guildford, United Kingdom
Lived: Millthorpe, Mountside, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4JD, UK (51.23228, -0.58286)
Carpenter House, The Glen, Cordwell Ln, Millthorpe, Dronfield, Derbyshire S18 7WH, UK (53.28404, -1.53118)
Buried: Guildford Cemetery, Guildford, Guildford Borough, Surrey, England
Buried alongside: Edward Carpenter

Edward Carpenter was a socialist poet and philosopher, anthologist, and early gay activist. A leading figure in late 19th and early 20th century Britain, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Walt Whitman and Rabindranath Tagore. A strong advocate of sexual freedom, living in a gay community near Sheffield, he had a profound influence on both D.H. Lawrence and E.M. Forster (it has been said he and Merrill are the inspiration for Maurice and Alec.) On his return from India in 1891, Carpenter met George Merrill, a working class man also from Sheffield, and the two men struck up a relationship, moving in together in 1898. Their relationship endured and they remained partners for the rest of their lives, a fact made all the more extraordinary by the hysteria about homosexuality generated by the Oscar Wilde’s trial of 1895. In January 1928, Merrill died suddenly, leaving Carpenter devastated: "there was only the end to be desired." In May, 1928, Carpenter suffered a paralytic stroke, which rendered him almost helpless. He lived another 13 months before dying on June 28, 1929. They are buried together at Guildford Cemetery, Surrey; under Merrill’s name you read “about 40 years with Edward Carpenter.”
Together from 1891 to 1928: 37 years.
Edward Carpenter (August 29, 1844 - June 28, 1929)
George Merrill (1866 – January 10, 1928)



Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
ISBN-10: 1500563323
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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Edward Carpenter and George Merrill are buried together at Mount Cemetery, Guildford. On the tombstone you can read: Edward Carpenter, also George Merrill, about 40 years with Edward Carpenter.
Addresses:
Millthorpe, Mountside, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4JD, UK (51.23228, -0.58286)
Carpenter House, The Glen, Cordwell Ln, Millthorpe, Dronfield, Derbyshire S18 7WH, UK (53.28404, -1.53118)
Place
Carpenter House was the home of author and philosopher Edward Carpenter until 1922. Millthorpe consist of a mixture of dwellings, ancient cottages and farms on the one hand and a suburban overflow on the other. In the summer of 1922, Edward Carpenter (then age 78) left Derbyshire and his beloved Millthorpe. He moved South with George Merrill to Mountside, Guildford and a villa at the top of the hill of Mountside with fine views over the town, which they named Millthorpe. Mountside rises up just five minutes walk from Guildford station, and the regular train service that can bring you to central London within 40 minutes; a steep residential road, quiet and suburban, that gives glimpses out over Guildford as you climb. A left hand turn at the top of the road also leads to Mountside Cemetery where Edward Carpenter and George Merrill are buried together. If you walk out through the lower part of the cemetary you also pass the grave of Lewis Caroll. Taking an alternative path back to Mountside road, a cutting that ran along the back of the houses, at the far end there is Millthorpe.
Life
Who: Edward Carpenter (August 29, 1844 – June 28, 1929) and George Merrill (1866 – January 10, 1928)
Edward Carpenter was a socialist poet, philosopher, anthologist, and early LGBT activist. A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Rabindranath Tagore, and a friend of Walt Whitman. He corresponded with many famous figures such as Annie Besant, Isadora Duncan, Havelock Ellis, Roger Fry, Mahatma Gandhi, James Keir Hardie, J. K. Kinney, Jack London, E D Morel, William Morris, E R Pease, John Ruskin, and Olive Schreiner. When his father Charles Carpenter died in 1882, he left his son a considerable fortune. This enabled Carpenter to quit his lectureship to start a simpler life of market gardening in Millthorpe, near Barlow, Derbyshire. On his return from India in 1891, he met George Merrill (1866-1928), a working class man also from Sheffield, and the two men struck up a relationship, eventually moving in together in 1898. E. M. Forster was also close friends with the couple, who on a visit to Millthorpe in 1912 was inspired to write his gay-themed novel, “Maurice.” Forster records in his diary that, Merrill, “touched my backside - gently and just above the buttocks. I believe he touched most people’s. The sensation was unusual and I still remember it, as I remember the position of a long vanished tooth. He made a profound impression on me and touched a creative spring." The relationship between Carpenter and Merrill was the template for the relationship between Maurice Hall and Alec Scudder, the gamekeeper in Forster’s novel. Carpenter was also a significant influence on the author D. H. Lawrence, whose “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” can be seen as a heterosexualised Maurice.



Queer Places, Vol. 2 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532906312
ISBN-10: 1532906315
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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Tags: days of love, queer places
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