Esoteric London

No. 253: Tite Street, SW3

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Literary London by esotericlondon on February 16, 2011

34, Tite Street, London, SW3. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

From the court transcripts on the first day of Oscar Wilde versus the Marquess of Queensberry, 3 April 1895:

OSCAR WILDE: … At the end of June, 1894, there was an interview between Lord Queensberry and myself in my house. He called upon me, not by appointment, about four o’clock in the afternoon, accompanied by a gentleman with whom I was not acquainted. The interview took place in my library. Lord Queensberry was standing by the window. I walked over to the fireplace, and he said to me ‘Sit down’. I said to him, ‘I do not allow anyone to talk like that to me in my house or anywhere else.’ […] He said, ‘You were both kicked out of the Savoy Hotel at a moment’s notice for your disgusting conduct.’ I said ‘Somebody has been telling you an absurd set of lies about your son and me. I have not done anything of the kind.’ He said, ‘I hear you were thoroughly well blackmailed for a disgusting letter you wrote to my son.’ I said, ‘The letter was a beautiful letter, and I never write except for publication.’ Then I asked: ‘Lord Queensberry, do you seriously accuse your son and me of improper conduct?’ He said, ‘I do not say that you are it, but you look it’. (Laughter)

MR. JUSTICE COLLINS: I shall have the court cleared if I hear the slightest disturbance again.

WILDE: (continuing Lord Queensberry’s remarks) ‘But you look it, and you pose at it, which is just as bad. If I catch you and my son together again in any public restaurant, I will thrash you.’ I said, ‘I do not know what Queensberry rules are but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot at sight.’ […] I then went into the hall and pointed him out to my servant. I said, ‘This is the Marquess of Queensberry, the most infamous brute in London. You are never to let him enter my house again.’

[Oscar Wilde’s address was 16 Tite Street, Chelsea; the house is now number 34 Tite Street.]

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