Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)

Places of Residence

This page offers a chronological list of the addresses at which Sorabji resided, both in London and, later in life, in Dorset. It will be useful as a guide for a Sorabji pilgrimage, in which case the Google Maps links will prove helpful. It also reproduces the wording of the plates affixed to his Corfe Castle house. The concert venues where he himself performed and where others gave important performances of his music are documented elsewhere.

A related site for a pilgrimage is the grave of Sorabji’s mother at the Bournemouth Crematorium & North Cemetery, Cemetery Lodge, Strouden Avenue, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH8 9HX (plot E 5/2) {Google Maps}. For photographs of Madeline Matilda Worthy, the tombstone, and the entrance to the cemetery, see entry 171342810 on Find a Grave Memorial (added on 16 October 2016 by Aleda Jeanne Reid). See also entry 171342648 (same date and poster) for Reginald Norman Best (photographs of him and of the cemetery gate, but not of the tombstone).

Names of houses are between quotation marks, and postcodes are given, though they did not exist at the time. Dates in square brackets are usually taken from letters and are very approximate.

References to the location of photographs found in the following two sources are given:

  • OB: Sean Vaughn Owen, “Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji: An Oral Biography” (Ph.D. diss., University of Southampton, 2006, c2008).
  • SCC: Paul Rapoport, ed., Sorabji: A Critical Celebration (Aldershot, Hampshire: Scolar Press [later Ashgate, Routledge since 2016]; Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1992, 1994).

See also the specific page devoted to illustrations.

Plates affixed to various parts outside The Eye (Corfe Castle)

Front porch (inset into the stonework): Eye of Horus (also known as wadjet, wedjat, or udjat), modelled on a glazed composition pectoral (11 × 10.5 cm) showing the god Anubis as a jackal, with the sacred eye in the upper left-hand corner; XIXth Dynasty or later, after 1250 B.C., British Museum, no. EA7853 (includes picture). There was also a stone owl standing at the beginning of the ramp leading to the main entrance.

Outside front door (rectangular plate, landscape, with text laid in two three-line columns): PLEASE LEAVE PARCELS IN FRONT PORCH {front porch at one time read garden shed}.

Outside front door (rectangular plate, landscape, with text on three lines): PLEASE LEAVE PARCELS ETC. INSIDE PORCH.

Outside front door (rectangular plate, landscape, with text on three lines): Social calls and visits Strictly Barred Unless previously arranged {a metallic plate reading All was screwed to replace Social calls}.

Right-hand gatepost:

  • Top (oval-shaped plate): Eye of Horus (see above).
  • Bottom (rectangular plate, portrait, with text on 12 lines): Quant aux coriaces de la sensibilité, Aux précaires de l’entendement, Aux pauvres de la subtilité, Qui n’ont droit à aucune vie, Ce sont ceux-là en vérité, Les morts parmi les vivants. Sur eux notre indifférence Pire que la malédiction. Amîn!

Left-hand gatepost:

  • Top (rectangular, with strongly rounded edges, landscape): The Eye (reproduced in SCC, 31, and OB, 323). The image was also inset into stonework on the front porch.
  • Bottom (rectangular plate, portrait, with text on 10 lines): NO FLAG DAY OR CHARITY TOUTING[.] NO HAWKERS, PEDLARS OR CANVASSERS[,] POLITICAL OR OTHER. GENUINE CATHOLIC i.e. ROMAN SISTERS WELCOME (reproduced in SCC, 31, and OB, 323).

Outside rear door (rectangular plate, landscape): No Callers Allowed Without Appointment.

A sign showing the way to the front door with a left-pointing hand can be seen near the right fence on a photograph by Norman Peterkin reproduced in SCC, 57. Sorabji is standing next to the left fence, with his left hand leaning on it.

Click on a column heading to sort, then shift-click on other headings to sort on multiple columns.
Surround strings with quotation marks for specific searches. Refresh the page to revert to the initial order.

Years Address Comments
Years Address Comments
1892-? Buxton Road, Chingford, Essex {Google Maps} Sorabji’s first known address (civic number unknown) is located off Station Road (A1069), not far from its intersection with Kings Road (A110), close to the Chingford train station on Chingford Green.
1901 Osbourne Mansions, 9 Northumberland Street, Marylebone (now Luxborough Street, City of Westminster W1U 5BT){Google Maps} This is located across the street from what is now the University of Westminster.
1911 4 Hill Road, London NW8 9QG {Google Maps} This is located in the vicinity of the London Central Mosque in St. John’s Wood.
1913-14 “Hanover House”, 25a St John’s Wood High Street, City of Westminster, London NW8 7DY {Google Maps} Dates: [3 October 1913] to [14 April 1914].

“Hanover House” is a large block of six-floor red brick and greystone row houses located between Barrow Hill (continuation of Wellington Place) and Greenberry Street.
1914 (before) Wigmore Street, London {Google Maps} In an essay entitled “Concert-Going Memories” Sorabji wrote that he lived on Wigmore Street before World War I.
1914 29 Clarence Gate Gardens, London NW1 6BA {Google Maps} Dates: [28 June 1914] to [8 September 1914].

Sorabji and his mother lived in a first-floor flat in block no. 2 of a red brick ten-unit row house containing nos. 22 to 42, located on the west side of Glentworth Street between Melcombe Street (south end) and Ivor Place (north end).

In the immediate vicinity one finds the Francis Holland Church of England School for Girls and St. Cyprian’s Church. The Baker Street underground station is located a few minutes to the east. Other landmarks in the neighbourhood: Regent’s Park, Madame Tussaud’s, Royal Academy of Music.

For some documentation (with several photographs) about the history of Clarence Gate Gardens and memories of residents as well as notes on famous past residents (including Sorabji), see History of Clarence Gate Gardens.
1914-15 10 Great Russell Mansions, 60 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3BE {Google Maps} Dates: [November 1914] to [2 March 1915].

Sorabji and his mother lived in the left section of a building comprising a basement, a ground floor and five floors (for a total of 26 units) located just across the entrance to the British Museum, located between Museum and Bury Streets.
1915-16 177 Clarence Gate Gardens, London NW1 6AR {Google Maps} Dates: [12 May 1915] to [21 April 1916].

Sorabji and his mother lived in a first-floor flat in block no. 8 of a red-brick ten-unit row house containing nos. 168-89, located on the east side of Glentworth Street, at the corner of Siddons Lane, on which a rear entrance to the flat can be found. The flat looks in the back of the street.
1916-50 175 Clarence Gate Gardens, London NW1 6AR; phone number: PAD[dington] 8089 {Google Maps}

Photograph in OB, 329 (fig. 19).
Dates: [21 April 1916] to [early 1950s].

A Mrs. Headly Blythe lived there probably as of late 1950.

Sorabji and his mother lived in a first-floor flat in block no. 8 of a red-brick ten-unit row house containing nos. 168-89, located on the east side of Glentworth Street, at the corner of Siddons Lane, on which a rear entrance to the flat can be found. The flat looks on the street, on the left side of the block.
1930s BM/KSS Sorabji had a Monomark address, a “poste restante” service offered by British Monomarks Ltd, Monomark House, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3XX. This enabled him to remain anonymous.
1934-47? Bankes Arms Hotel, East Street, Corfe Castle, Dorset BH20 5ED {Google Maps} Sorabji spent several weeks each summer at the local hotel.
1940s 9 Regent Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 8HZ {Google Maps} Sorabji had a studio in the Bloomsbury area, between the Russell Square and King’s Cross/St. Pancras underground stations, off Judd Street.
1940s? (late) Boscombe {Google Maps} Sorabji stayed for a while in a suburb of Bournemouth.
1947?-49? “Ellern Cote”, East Street, Corfe Castle, Dorset BH20 5EQ (or 5EE) {Google Maps} Dates: [June 1947] to [June 1949].

Sorabji stayed in this pension while he was looking for a permanent home in Corfe Castle.
1950 “Lindisfarne”, 124 High Street, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2PA {Google Maps} Dates: [July 1950].

Sorabji lived in a little furnished house.
1950 “Rowbarrow”, Townsend Mead, Corfe Castle, Dorset BH20 5EU; phone number: Corfe Castle 304 {Google Maps} Dates: [December 1950]. The house was sold in 1997 for GBP 140,000 according to the data provided on the website Doogal, which provides data for post code BH20 5EU on the basis of HM Land Registry.

Sorabji rented this house before moving into “The Eye”.
1956-86 “The Eye”, Higher Filbank, Corfe Castle, Dorset BH20 5EX; phone number: Corfe Castle 364; later (09295) 364 and (0929) 480364 {Google Maps}

Photographs in SCC, 31, 35, 57; OB, 323 (figs. 6, 7).
Dates: [June 1956] to 6 June 1986. The house is valued at GBP 625,000 according to data provided on the website Doogal on the basis of HM Land Registry.

“The Eye” is the house that Sorabji had built for himself and his companion Reginald Norman Best and in which they lived until moving to a nursing home. At some point during the late 2000s it was offered for rent as a self-catering holiday cottage. The only remaining item of the house as Sorabji knew it, as could be seen in the pictures offered, is the fireplace.
1960s “Beckwell House”, 11 Welbeck Street, London W1G 9XZ {Google Maps} Sorabji stayed at this pension owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher when he went from Corfe Castle to London for a few days. The five-floor red brick and greystone house is located at the corner of Welbeck Way, a few steps from Wigmore Hall.
1986 Christmas Close Hospital, now Wareham Hospital, Streche Road, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4QG {Google Maps} Dates: 28 July to 15 October 1986, 21 October 1986 to 20 March 1987. The hospital was later moved to a newer building across the street and the premises were converted to residential accommodation.
1987-88 Marley House Nursing Home, Winfrith Newburgh, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8JR {Google Maps} Dates: 20 March 1987 to 15 October 1988.

Marley House Nursing Home is a two-storey pink stucco house. Sorabji’s companion Reginald Norman Best lived there with him in a two-room suite until his death on 29 February 1988.
1988- God’s Acre, Corfe Castle

Photograph in OB, 325 (fig. 10); see also entry 171342522 at Find a Grave Memorial (added on 16 October 2016 by Aleda Jeanne Reid), which has a photograph of Sorabji, of the tombstone, and of the cemetery gate.
Sorabji’s (and Best’s) ashes are interred at the local cemetery.
Last modified: 2021-06-08
© Marc-André Roberge 2021
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec

The contents of this website devoted to the English composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji may be freely used for documentary purposes in a research context provided that due credit is given but may not be mirrored on any other server. Links to external or third-party websites cannot be guaranteed to be, or remain, valid or persistent, and their contents cannot be guaranteed to be, or remain, accurate or appropriate.

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