The author most famous for Frankenstein was laid to rest in Bournemouth in 1851. Her grave sits atop a small hill which can be accessed by a handful of steps and is directly next to a large church. The graveyard she sits in is small, surrounded by a road and is passed daily by people trying to get to the large car park that can be reached at the top of the hill.
In 1814 Mary fell in love with Percy Bysshe Shelley who was actually married at the time. Together they travelled Europe together with her stepsister Claire Clairmont also joining them. During her travels she became pregnant with Percy's child who sadly was born premature not long after their return to England. Upon their return they were treated poorly and lived a life struggling financially. Percy and Mary wed in 1816 after Percy's first wife Harriet killed herself.
The tragedy within Shelley's life continued as her second and third pregnancies both resulted in the child dying before birth. She did have a fourth and final successful pregnancy however and gave birth to Percy Florence Shelley. During this awful time for Shelley, her and her husband Percy had moved to Italy and also spent time in Switzerland with Lord Byron and John William Polidori. It is during this time that she came up with the idea for Frankenstein. Shelley stated that the idea for Frankenstein came about due to nightmares she had had while staying in Switzerland. They would often spend evenings telling ghost stories to one another which understandably led to the nightmare she had.
Tragedy struck once again in 1822 when Shelley's husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm. A year later she returned to England and spent the remainder of her life bringing up her only child and focusing on her career as an author.
Mary Shelley passed away on February 1st 1851 of a suspected brain tumour. She was only 53 at the time of death and asked to be buried with her parents in St Pancras, London. Upon inspection of her parents grave, Percy and his now wife Jane were not happy with the condition and so had them both exhumed. Now residing in Boscombe, he decided to lay Shelley to rest with her parents in Bournemouth, so she was close to his home.
Her final resting place in Bournemouth sadly is one that appears to have been forgotten over the years. When I first moved here around 5 years ago, I had no idea it was here at all. It wasn't until someone mentioned it in passing that i discovered her final resting place was located in the town I was living in. Bournemouth does not do anything (as far as i'm aware) to highlight that one of the worlds most famous authors is resting here. There are no signs, exhibits or even fun things during Halloween to celebrate her life and work.
It was sweet to see that two daffodils had been left on her grave when I arrived and the ground around her tomb is worn down from others who had come before but overall it seems like Bournemouth has forgotten this incredible author and has reduced her existence down to a pub across the road called 'The Mary Shelley'.