Nicholson's old home, 14 St George's Terrace, is valuable for two reasons. One, it was home to the poet throughout his life, influencing and inspiring his writing as well as being the physical space where his work was constructed. Two, it represents the premises of a small trader in a small Victorian town who lived above the shop, a bygone way of life which to no small extent can be re-created with careful restoration.
The house is part of a terrace built in 1880 when Millom was increasing in size and prosperity, following the discovery of iron ore at Hodbarrow in 1860 and the opening of Millom Ironworks in 1867. It was in use as Dixon’s the chemist’s until 1906 when Joseph Nicholson opened his gents’ outfitters there, with the front being his shop, and the rear and upstairs being living accommodation for him, his wife and - from 1914 - their son Norman. Norman was born here and lived his entire life here apart from a two-year spell in his late teens when he was sent to a sanatorium for treatment for TB. When Norman returned from the sanatorium the front attic room became his bedroom to allow him as much fresh air as possible. This room, the house, the town of Millom and the neighbouring area have all become synonymous with Nicholson, between them being the source of inspiration for his writing (poetry, drama and prose) as well as being, in the case of the house, the physical setting for the vast majority of his writing activity (almost all done in longhand).
"I thank God for a lifetime spent in that same town," he wrote in his autobiography Wednesday Early Closing (Faber & Faber 1975).
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