Shakespeare meets Keats at poet’s Hampstead home

A former history teacher has been appointed to take over as curator of Keats House in Hampstead, the poet’s home from 1818 to 1820.

Robert Shakespeare, who will lead the team at the City of London Corporation-owned museum and literary centre from 5 March, worked for 10 years as a history teacher in a north London comprehensive, before moving into the museum sector.

His first role was a Museum Education Officer in Enfield where, coincidentally, John Keats undertook his education and apprenticeship, followed in 2003 as Education Manager at the Museum of Croydon.

Four years later, Robert was promoted to Museum & Archives Manager and worked on exhibitions and projects to raise awareness of Croydon's historic collections and build upon his work to attract new audiences to the Museum.

Robert Shakespeare, the City of London Corporation’s principal curator designate at Keats House, said:

“I am looking forward to joining the team at Keats House as we begin drawing up plans on how to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Keats’ time at the house.

“The bicentenary is an ideal opportunity to re-examine the life of a young artist, living and working in London at a critical point in its development as a world-leading cultural capital.

“As well as engaging with those who know and admire Keats’ poetry, we will aim to bring his work to new audiences and specifically, the next generation of young poets and culture lovers in London.”

Graham Packham, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

“Robert will certainly relish the opportunity to raise awareness of Keats’ legacy in the house where he wrote some of his best-loved work, including ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, nearly 200 years ago.

“This beautiful house in Hampstead has become a popular place for people to visit, reflect upon Keats’ poetry and his tragically short life, and for poetry lovers themselves, to draw inspiration for their own work.”

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Keats House, invests over £100m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds.

It is the UK’s largest funder of cultural activities after the government, the BBC, and Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is also developing Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate – a multi-million-pound investment which will create a new cultural and creative destination for London over the next 10 to 15 years.

This includes £110m funding to support the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield and £2.5m to support the detailed business case for the proposed Centre for Music.



Notes to editors:

Robert Shakespeare is available for media interviews. Images of Robert are available on request from Andrew Buckingham (see below).

For further information and images, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mob: 07795 333060 / Email

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

  • We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.
  • We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.
  • We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.

See for more details.

About Keats House :

Keats House is situated at Keats Grove, Hampstead, London, NW3 2RR. Telephone 020 7332 3868. Email – follow us on Facebook at /keatshousemuseum and on Twitter at @keatshouse /

Opening hours

  • Monday - CLOSED
  • Tuesday - CLOSED
  • Wednesday 11am - 5pm
  • Thursday 11am - 5pm
  • Friday 11am - 5pm
  • Saturday 11am - 5pm
  • Sunday 11am - 5pm

Keats House is open on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Mondays.

Our volunteers run guided tours of the house at 3pm. Tours last around 30 minutes and are included in the admission price, subject to availability.

Admission prices

  • Adults £6.50
  • Seniors £5.50
  • Concessions (students and jobseekers) £4.50
  • Children 17 and under FREE
  • National Trust Members £3.25
  • National Art Pass holders FREE

Entry to the Keats House garden is FREE