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This MS has been blitzed which accounts for my delay in delivering it and its slightly crumpled condition, but it is not damaged in any way.

So wrote George Orwell in a letter dated 28 June 1944 to T.S. Eliot. The manuscript in question was Animal Farm. The house in which Orwell, his wife Eileen and adopted baby Richard lived was 10a Mortimer Crescent, NW6. It, along with neighbouring homes, was destroyed by a V-1 flying bomb some days previous. Fortunately, the family was not at home. Armed with a wheelbarrow and a shovel Orwell returned to the bomb site to dig his manuscript out of the ruins.

The Orwells had lived in Mortimer Crescent for two years, a significant period of the author’s time in London. Yet there was no plaque to commemorate this fact. Until last week. On Tuesday 11th of September a green plaque was unveiled by Richard Blair himself, Orwell’s adopted son. The sign was commissioned by The Historic Kilburn  Plaque Scheme – led by local historian Ed Fordham.

George Orwell in Kilburn

George Orwell in Kilburn

Richard Blair addresses an enthusiastic group of local residents, journalists, photographers and Orwell fans.

George Orwell in Kilburn

Richard Blair and Ed Fordham

George Orwell in Kilburn

Highlight of my day. Richard signed this picture in one of my Orwell biographies (the Michael Shelden one, for you Orwell aficionados)

The plaque is attached to Kington House in Mortimer Crescent, a block of 1950s flats which were built directly above the original bomb site.

You can read about another pilgrimage and Orwell plaque here: George Orwell in Hayes.

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