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TRAGIC END

Where is Sylvia Plath’s grave, how did The Bell Jar author die and where’s the Primrose Hill property where she lived?

Author of The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath, tragically died in 1963 after taking her own life

SYLVIA Plath remains to be one of the most celebrated authors of our time, having published the critically-acclaimed Bell Jar in January 1963.

Tragically, a month after her debut novel was published, Plath took her own life at her Primrose Hill property.

 Sylvia Plath tragically ended her own life in February 1963
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Sylvia Plath tragically ended her own life in February 1963

How did Sylvia Plath die?

Before her death on February 11, 1963, Plath made several attempts to end her own life.

Ten years prior, on August 24, 1953, she had overdosed on pills in the cellar of her mother's home.

This draws a striking parallel to The Bell Jar's protagonist Esther Greenwood, who went missing with medication after crawling into a space under the house.

In June 1962, Plath had also driven her car off the side of the road, into a river - which she later admitted was an attempt on her life.

Like Greenwood, Plath, too, suffered insomnia and her mental health deteriorated over a long period of time.

On the fateful morning of February 11, a nurse was due to arrive at Plath's Primrose Hill property to help mind the children.

However, the nurse was unable to gain access to the flat and enlisted the help of a handyman to break down the door.

Plath's body was found in the kitchen, as it was determined she had died of carbon monoxide poisoning after putting her head in the oven.

An inquest later confirmed her cause of death was suicide and that Plath had sealed the kitchen door with towels and cloths to prevent gas leaking into the room where her children slept.

She left a note with her neighbour saying "Call Dr. Horder", which has led some to believe she did not intend to end her life.

Where is her grave?

Sylvia Plath's grave is located at Heptonstall church in West Yorkshire.

Her estranged husband Ted Hughes chose the inscription on her tombstone, which reads: "Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted."

Her graveside is often visited by fans of her work to pay homage to the tragic writer.

Many accused Hughes of being responsible for Plath's death, which intensified after his mistress, Assia Wevill, killed herself and their four-year-old daughter Shura in 1969.

Plath's grave was then vandalised, as fans were outraged Hughes' name was engraved on the stone - each time Hughes had the stone replaced.

 Sylvia Plath's grave in West Yorkshire has been vandalised on multiple occasions
Getty - Contributor
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Sylvia Plath's grave in West Yorkshire has been vandalised on multiple occasions

Where is Plath's Primrose Hill property?

Plath first moved to Primrose Hill, London, with Ted Hughes in December 1959.

The couple lived in a flat near Regent's Park, located at 3 Chalcot Square.

Today, a blue English Heritage plaque marks the residence.

When is Life Inside The Bell Jar on BBC Two?

BBC Two are launching a new documentary on the life of Sylvia Plath on August 11, 2018.

Life Inside The Bell Jar starts at 9pm.

 

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans (free) on 116123 or 020 7734 2800.