Top 10 things you should know about Robert Southey

Written by Dr Charlotte May

1. Southey enjoyed writing and creating stories for children and wrote the popular version of The Three Bears.

2. As well as writing poetry, Southey also wrote political essays dealing with contemporary events, including the Poor Laws.

3. Southey’s biography The Life of Nelson (1813) has never been out of print.

4. Cats were constant companions to Southey and his family at Greta Hall.

5. Southey became Poet Laureate in 1813.

6. As Southey grew older, he suffered from a form of dementia. He was unable to read, write or recognise friends and required the use of a wheelchair when outside the house.

7. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was Southey’s brother-in-law.

8. Southey encouraged and promoted the work of his niece Sara Coleridge (whose education he was in part responsible for).

9. Over 7,000 of Southey’s handwritten letters still survive. Click here to read them.

10. Southey’s favourite food was gooseberry pie, and he even wrote a poem about it.

Find out more about Robert Southey.