One of the country’s literary greats has been honoured with a green plaque by Westminster City Council.
Writer and critic Edward Garnett held regular lunches at a restaurant on Gerrard Street where he nurtured the talent of writers was as DH Lawrence, John Galsworthy and Liam O’Flaherty.
Now the building, which has been a restaurant, including the Mont Blanc, for much of its history has been awarded one of Westminster City Council’s green plaques,
The plaques were launched in 1991 to mark those who have contributed to the richness and diversity of the city and country.
Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, Robert Davis said: “These names, their dedication and their influence can still be felt today, nearly a century since the last of the lunches, and the plaque is a further recognition of their ground-breaking achievements.”
Two of the most famous frequenters of the Mont Blanc lunches were the famous writers GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, who met at the site in 1900 and subsequently developed a close friendship, sealed over a bottle of Moulin-a-Vent.
Today GK Chesterton’s 52 Father Brown stories about a Catholic priest turned detective are as well loved as they were when they were first published. Chesterton’s prolific authorship of biographies, essays, articles and novels, plays and poems – also continue to provide a valuable insight into the turn of the century politics and society.
One of the most prolific early twentieth century authors, who again came under the stewardship of Edward Garnett at the Mont Blanc was Hilaire Belloc. A man of many talents and interests, Hilaire Belloc wrote on a myriad of issues ranging from warfare to poetry to other topics of his day.
Together GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc made up half of what became known as the Edwardian Big Four along with HG Wells and George Bernard Shaw, a group who continued their lively debates with each other long after the closure of the Mont Blanc in 1928.
One of Chesterbelloc’s, as they became known, other crowning achievements was their dedication to combating corruption in public life. This commitment which is as worthy today as it was then is epitomised in Chesterton’s first novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill which was dedicated to Hilaire Belloc and is believed to have influenced novels as famous as George Orwell’s 1984.