The Cambridge & District Blue Plaques Scheme is run by local charity Cambridge Past Present & Future. However sometimes blue plaques are put up by other organisations that are not part of this official scheme. You can easily tell because the blue plaque won't have the crest of either the City Council or South Cambridge District Council. Whilst we are not responsible for these plaques we felt it might be helpful for people to be aware of them. The blue plaque for Rupert Brooke is one of these.

Rupert Chawner Brooke was an English poet known for his romantic verse and idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War. His poem ‘The Soldier’ contains the immortal lines: “If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England”.

Brooke began writing poetry whilst at boarding school in Rugby, and in October 1906 he went up to King’s College, Cambridge to study Classics. He lived in Grantchester, at The Orchard House (next to The Orchard Tea Room) from 1909-1911 and at The Old Vicarage from 1911-1912, which inspired one of his best known poems of the same name, with the final lines:

      Stands the church clock at ten to three?
      And is there honey still for tea?

A blue plaque is mounted on Orchard House, Mill Way in Grantchester and commemorates Brooke's stay at both properties

Brooke became a Fellow of King’s College in March 1913 as a result of his thesis entitled ‘John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama’. In the following year he enlisted at the outbreak of war in August 1914 and was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, taking part in the Antwerp expedition in October 1914. Brooke sailed with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 28 February 1915 but developed pneumococcal sepsis from an infected mosquito bite. He died of septicaemia less than two months later on 23 April 1915, on a French hospital ship moored off the Greek island of Skyros in the Aegean Sea, while on his way to the Gallipoli landings. As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, Brooke was buried at 11 pm in an olive grove on Skyros.

His most famous collection of poetry, containing all five war sonnets, '1914 & Other Poems', was first published in May 1915. On 11 November 1985, Brooke was among 16 First World War poets commemorated on a slate monument unveiled in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. The inscription on the stone was written by Wilfred Owen, a fellow war poet. It reads:

"My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."