Mystery of WW1 poets’ meeting place solved in Edinburgh golf club

In 1917, Wilfred Owen was diagnosed with shellshock and treated at the Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh.  Picture Ian Rutherford

In 1917, Wilfred Owen was diagnosed with shellshock and treated at the Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh. Picture Ian Rutherford

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Researchers have finally pinpointed the location where three of the greatest war poets held mystery meeting 100 years ago.

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Baberton Golf Club has been pinpointed as the meeting place. Picture; Rob McDougall.

Baberton Golf Club has been pinpointed as the meeting place. Picture; Rob McDougall.

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In 1917, Wilfred Owen was diagnosed with shellshock and treated at the Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh which led to a friendship with another war poet, Siegfried Sassoon.

They then met with the third poet, Robert Graves, which has been described as “potentially the most powerful meeting of English literature in the 20th century”

The meeting place has been a secret for 100 years.

But now, an American University has said that the location was Baberton Golf Club in Juniper Green, Edinburgh.

Neil McLennan, a former head of history at Tynecastle School, who now works as a senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen has spent more than 10 years researching the life of Wilfred Owen.

He said: “Confirming this venue has been something that I really got between my teeth.

“We always knew the three men met in Edinburgh but not where. It was thought to be a golf club owing to Sassoon’s love of the game.”

After scouring UK libraries and archives for clues, Mr McLennan found the answer in letters written in 1917 now held in Southern Illinois University, which he learned about through a fortuitous conversation with an American archivist.

He continued: “There for all to see is a letter from Siegfried Sassoon to Robert Graves.

“In it, he describes how he has a golf match on the day of Graves’ visit, which unsurprisingly he did not wish to cancel.

“He asks Graves to travel to meet him at Juniper Green and Baberton Golf Club specifically.

“Further correspondence indicates that between the letter being sent and Graves arriving it was decided that Owen would be sent to collect Graves and bring him to Baberton Golf Club.”

“This find means that Baberton Golf Club can now say it held potentially the most powerful meeting of English literature in the 20th century.”

Alan Goodman Baberton Golf Club Captain said: “We were excited to learn that this historic meeting took place in our clubhouse and led to such an important collaboration between three of Britain’s greatest war poets. We intend to create a permanent reminder of this meeting for members and visitors to view.”

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