A new plaque has been unveiled outside the Pump Room in Bath to celebrate the building’s links with Frankenstein, which was published 200 years ago.
Mary Shelley wrote the novel while staying at 5 Abbey Church Yard, which then stood next to the Grand Pump Room. Film expert and writer Sir Christopher Frayling unveiled the plaque on Tuesday 27 February.
Councillor Paul Myers (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield), cabinet member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “We are delighted that the Pump Room now has a plaque to commemorate its links with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and hope that it will attract more people visiting Bath who want to explore the city’s literary heritage.”
Mary, aged 19, arrived in Bath in September 1816 and took lodgings at 5 Abbey Church Yard, on the site of the current Pump Room’s 19th-century extension.
She attended the scientific lectures of Dr Wilkinson in the nearby Kingston Lecture Room. He suggested that one day electricity, then in its infancy, might be used to bring inanimate objects to life.
This idea resonated with Mary, who had made notes of the nightmares she had during a stormy night in Switzerland earlier that year, while staying with the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Out of these experiences came the novel Frankenstein.
Mary and Percy married in December 1816. By the time Mary left Bath in February 1817, much of the novel had been written. It was published anonymously in London in January 1818.
Curiously, an electricity sub-station now sits directly beneath the spot where the novel was written.