News: 1 December 2020

John Keats’ Final Voyage on Google Earth

John Keats' Final Voyage Mapped on Google Earth

On 17th September 1820, John Keats set sail from Tower Wharf in London on the Maria Crowther, beginning a six-week voyage to Rome. He was 24 years old.

Keats travelled to Italy in a desperate attempt to restore his health, which over the previous two years had been slowly wasting towards nothing by consumption. ‘A winter in England would, I have not a doubt, kill me,’ he wrote to his friend Charles Brown in August 1820. ‘So I have resolved to go to Italy, either by sea or land. Not that I have any great hopes of that,—for, I think, there is a core of disease in me not easy to pull out.’

To mark the 200th anniversary of this extraordinary final voyage, the Keats-Shelley House is following in Keats’ footsteps and also his wake, day by day, and stage by stage – using the eminently 21st century storytelling possibilities of Google Earth, which allows us to use maps, narrative, animation, images, videos and links to recreate a journey through time and space.

Click this link – – which will you to the landing page of our project: John Keats’ Final Voyage.

Navigate through the chapters using grey Table of Contents box towards the bottom of the screen. It can take a few seconds for each episode to load fully (Google provides a handy % progress in the bottom left hand corner).

On the right-hand side of each chapter, there is a dialogue box: scroll down to read the story of that day and place. There are also links in the text – to other pages in Google Earth, and also to external resources. You can also interact with the map – zooming in and out, even to outer space, or just ambling about the neighbourhood.

Please email comments to Or via Twitter:

Next month, we will tell the wider tale of Keats’ final months in a podcast serial: John Keats’ Dying Year, which we hope to make interactive with our Google Earth project.

James Kidd

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