What's Real in Burning Bright?
William and Catherine Blake, and Philip and John Astley all existed.
Other characters who existed in name if not in personality: Blakes mother and siblings, Rachael Pelham, John Roberts, John Fox, Hannah Smith
The Blakes lived at 13 Hercules Buildings between 1790 and 1800.
Blake owned a printing press and probably kept it in his front room.
There was a grapevine and a fig tree in his back garden.
Circus impresario Philip Astley ran a famous circus at the end of Westminster Bridge. He lived in a mansion in the field behind Blakes house. His son John Astley lived in a house next to Blakes.
One day Blake saw a young boy dragging around a log attached to his leg. He confronted Philip Astley and the two had a shouting match, though ended up reconciled.
Astleys fireworks lab blew up on 1 June 1792, killing the carpenter John Honor.
Blakes mother died in September 1792 and was buried in Bunhill Fields.
In December 1792 the newly formed Lambeth Association petitioned local residents to sign a loyalty pledge.