He had been a brilliant dramatist in his younger days, but was facing a penniless old age as Kinnaird and Lord Byron steered him towards his front door. He hadn’t written anything for ages and had recently been thrown into a debtors’ prison after losing his seat in Parliament.
To cap it all, Sheridan’s wife was dying of cancer. A friend who visited them here:
‘Found him and Mrs Sheridan both in their beds, both apparently dying, and both starving… They had hardly a servant left. Mrs Sheridan’s maid she was about to send away, but they could not collect a guinea or two to pay the woman’s wages. When Mr Vaughan entered the house he found all the reception rooms bare, and the whole house in a state of filth and stench that was quite intolerable.
‘Sheridan himself he found in a truckle bed in a garret with a coarse blue and red coverlet, such as one sees as horse-cloths over him; out of this bed he had not moved for a week, not even for the occasions of nature, and in this state the unhappy man had been allowed to wallow.’
The bailiffs had no sympathy for Sheridan. There wasn’t a stick of furniture left in the house when he died miserably on 7 July 1816.
The group turned the basement into a recording studio and recorded one of their most famous albums there. In January 1969, they all went up to the roof one afternoon and played tracks from the album while the cameras rolled and stunned neighbours gathered on their fire escapes to listen.
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 136. The group broke up soon afterwards. Who were they?
‘Riveting’ – Daily Mail
‘Fascinating’ – The Times
‘Outstanding’ – Midwest Book Review
‘Utterly absorbing’ – Macleans