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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 00:47 GMT
Scholars outbid for poet's home
Philip Larkin's house
Larkin lived in the house as a Hull University librarian
The former home of poet Philip Larkin, in Hull, has been bought by a wealthy businesswoman - because of its pretty garden.

Scholars at nearby Hull University and the local council wanted to buy the property to preserve it as a base for a writer in residence.

But Miriam Porter, who lives in London, said she did not know anything about the house's famous former owner when she snapped up the 165,000 detached home.

She lived in a nearby orphanage and always longed to live in Hull's upmarket Newland Park area.

The poet's personal possessions, which were discovered untouched in the home from the day he died, will be moved to Hull City museum.

Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin died in 1985

Larkin, who worked at the nearby Hull University library, moved to the house in 1974, but complained his writing dried up while he was living there.

One of the few notable poems he wrote during this period - The Mower - described an accident involving his lawnmower and a hedgehog on the lawn.

Ms Porter, 40, said: "It's so beautiful and peaceful and so different to London where I live now.

"The garden needs a lot of work but there's so much scope.

"Newland Park is the Mayfair of Hull where I aspired to live as a child."

You can see his personality in his house and possessions - his extremes of anti-social behaviour and anger, humour and sentimentality

Dr James Booth, Hull University
Dr James Booth, an English lecturer at Hull University and general secretary of the Philip Larkin Society, said: "We would have liked to see the house preserved for posterity as it was the only one Philip Larkin ever owned."

When he died in 1985, Larkin left the house to close friend Monica Jones in his will.

A Leicester University lecturer, she moved to Larkin's Hull home when she became ill.

She died in February 2001, having lived the life of a recluse since Larkin's death.

Museum exhibits

She had left his possessions - including shaving brushes and shoes - untouched.

Most of his important manuscripts have now been removed and stored at Hull and Oxford universities, but other artefacts will be given to Hull City Museum for a future exhibition.

These range from champagne corks with dates written on them to a model of Hitler, once owned by Larkin's father with whom he had a stormy relationship.

Dr Booth said: "It would have been nice to see the house kept more or less as it was when Larkin lived in it.

"You can see his personality in his house and possessions - his extremes of anti-social behaviour and anger, humour and sentimentality."

Click here to go to BBC Humber Online
See also:

06 Nov 01 | England
Larkin's house up for sale
01 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Hancock house for sale
12 Jun 01 | Showbiz
Lennon's childhood house for sale
30 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
The Good Life house for sale
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