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Sunday, 5 April 2015



 

5 April 1895: Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish playwright, was arrested in Room 118 of the Cadogan Hotel, London on this day. He was to be charged with having a homosexual relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas (son of the 8th Marquis of Queensbury), affectionately known as 'Bosie'. Lord Alfred's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, had suspected Wilde and his own son to be in an illicit relationship, and he challenged Wilde with a scribbled accusation of 'Somdomy' (sic).

Oscar Wilde knew that the arrest was coming, and ignored friends' pleas for him to flee the country. The Poet Laureate John Betjeman took up the tragic tale in his poem "The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at The Cadogan Hotel":

A thump, and a murmur of voices--
(Oh, why must they make such a din?)
As the door of the bedroom swung open
And TWO PLAINCLOTHES POLICEMEN came in:
"Mr. Woilde, we 'ave come for tew take yew
Where felons and criminals dwell:
We must ask yew tew leave with us quietly
For this is the Cadogan Hotel.
The Hotel is still a going concern and is situated on Sloane Street, the famous Belgravia thoroughfare connecting the well-heeled districts of Chelsea and Knightsbridge in the City of London.