Pinter’s Former Chiswick Home For Sale

Playwright’s flat was inspiration for 'The Caretaker'

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Harold Pinter's former Chiswick home has been put up for sale. The flat is said to be the inspiration behind the squalid, leaky setting of his most famous work, The Caretaker. The bleak play is known to many from having been a set text for English Literature exams.

The playwright - who was a tenant at 373 Chiswick High Road between 1958 and 1963 - based the characters of Aston and Mick on two real-life brothers who also lived there. When the brothers invited a tramp to stay at the house, Pinter found easy inspiration for the play's third character: the itinerant Davies.

Michael Billington's biography of Pinter quotes him as saying: 'It was a very threadbare existence ... I was totally out of work. So I was very close to this old derelict's world, in a way.'

The modest first-floor flat was since been combined with the floor above and now has four bedrooms, two reception rooms, and a roof terrace, with no hint of Pinter’s 'threadbare existence'.

Its owner, who has just put the property up for sale, says that things were different when she moved in 36 years ago. She told the Observer “It was extremely sparsely furnished - there were two chairs, a kitchen table and a two-bar electric fire. The bath was in the kitchen with a strange sort of partition, which would have been there when Pinter was.”

June 21, 2005