Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Born in Cheltenham. . .

The Cheltenham Tourist office will not like me to say this, but if it wasn't for the racing, frankly I can't see any reason why I would have ever visited Cheltenham!

But yes there is one place I am glad I visited during race week in 2002. A house not far from the Cotswold Grange Hotel, which was the birthplace of the composer Gustav Holst, of The Planets Suite fame.

It's a simple late nineteenth century terraced house, of about three floors. It has been restored in the style of what a house would have looked like around the beginning of the twentieth century. There is a grand piano in the sitting room, and there are occasional concerts there.

But the most interesting item in the house is on one of the upstairs landings; it is in a frame on the wall. It is a legal document allowing the man himself to change his name, and is dated September 1918 (definitely late 1918 - I think it was September!).

It's true - Gustav Holst was NOT his real name.

Guess what his REAL name was?? Remember he changed it in 1918!

His real name was GUSTAV VON HOLST.

Can you imagine why he changed it???

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