W H (Wystan Hugh) Auden - Westminster Abbey, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 29.985 W 000° 07.636
30U E 699386 N 5709314
Quick Description: This memorial to W H (Wystan Hugh) Auden is located in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. The memorial was placed in 1974 a year after his death. He is buried in Kirchstetten in Austria as indicated on the memorial stone.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 11/1/2020 7:03:29 AM
Waymark Code: WM13BGX
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:

The inscription on the memorial to W H Auden, in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey, reads:

In the prison of his days
Teach the free man
how to praise
Buried at
Lower Austria

The Westminster Abbey website has an article about W H Auden that advises:

A memorial stone for W.H. Auden, poet and essayist, was unveiled in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey on 2nd October 1974. It adjoins the grave of John Masefield and memorials to George Eliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins. The stone was unveiled by Sir John Betjemen and readings were given by Sir John Gielgud. The address was by Auden's friend Stephen Spender.

The quote on the stone comes from In Memory of W.B. Yeats.

Auden was born in York on 21st February 1907, a son of George, a doctor, and his wife Constance (Bicknell). The family moved to the outskirts of Birmingham and he was educated in Surrey and at Christ Church, Oxford.

He worked for the General Post Office Film Unit for a time and his verses in Night Mail are well known:

"This is the Night Mail crossing the Border, bringing the cheque and the postal order, letters for the rich, letters for the poor, the shop on the corner, the girl next door."

He married Erika Grundgens but only in order that she could escape from Nazi Germany. During the second world war he spent his time in America, becoming a United States citizen and teaching in schools there. In 1955 he was made professor of poetry at Oxford university. He died in Austria, where he spent his summers, in September 1973 and was buried at Kirchstetten.


With the re-opening of Westminster Abbey after Covid-19 lockdown photography, for private use, has been allowed in most areas of the Abbey when services are not taking place (see here). There is an entry fee payable to enter the Abbey that is currently £18 for an adult (October, 2020).

Website with more information on either the memorial or the person(s) it is dedicated to: [Web Link]

Location: In Poets' Corner within Westminster Abbey.

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