William Blake radical, poet and artist was born and bred in Westminster in the 18th century. An advocate of “free love” and opponent of organised religion Blake was not one to swim with the cultural tide of the day and was one reason why he owned his own printing press. His work is celebrated for both its intensity, quality and vision. To honour the fact that he spent ten years in Lambeth there is, tucked away under a bridge on Centaur Street and round the corner from where lived, a lovely secret treasure.
His most famous work is probably the anthem “Jerusalem” and as such is a fitting tribute to the contradictions of the man as it’s a song held in esteem by nationalists and left-wing internationalists alike.
It seems that a radical and an agitator like Blake have his work displayed not just in public, but in a tiny nook of London that reflects the religious themes in his work of despair and hope, ordinariness and extra-ordinariness alike. London could do more of this blending the history of the city, with it’s best work placed very firmly in the places of everyday life.