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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
17th January 1899 Born today: Nevil Shute [Norway], London, novelist (On the Beach, Town Like Alice)
17th January 1886 Born today: Ronald Firbank, London, novelist (Flower Beneath the Foot)
17th January 1775 R B Sheridan's Rivals, premieres in London
17th January 1670 Highwayman Claude Duval found guilty of 6 robberies and sentenced to death.
William Beckford born here
The author of Vathek and builder of Fonthill Abbey was born here
Location: 22 Soho Square, London
Description: This is where the English novelist, art critic, travel writer, politician and ambitious dandy William Beckford was born.
At the age of ten, he inherited a large fortune from his father, a former Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Beckford consisting of 1 million in cash, land at Fonthill in Wiltshire, and several sugar plantations in Jamaica.
This allowed him to indulge his interest in art and architecture, as well as writing - he wrote the impressive novel Vathek. His architecture led to him masterminding the ill-fated build of the incredible gothic folly Fonthill Abbey.
He was trained by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in music.