- Noel Coward travelled all his life. During
his most productive years he often travelled alone and used his
time abroad to recuperate from an exhausting work-driven lifestyle
but he was always thinking and forming ideas and wrote a lot
of his best work abroad or on holiday. This developing page provides
basic information and pictures of his travels, destinations -
with references to the published diaries and biographies, and
his final homes in Jamaica and Switzerland.
- You can use the World map below by clicking
on a part of the World where Coward travelled (a hand will appear
over each area with a link to further information.)
I SOUTH AMERICA I BERMUDA
I MALTA I CHINA I JAPAN I BURMA I KOREA
I EGYPT I SIAM I SRI LANKA I SWITZERLAND
I JAMAICA I SOUTH
AFRICA I AUSTRALASIA I GIBRALTAR
- America Noel Coward first visited America in 1921 on the
Aquitania at a cost of £100 one-way. He was attracted to
this expensive mode of crossing the Atlantic by the fact that
Jeffery Holmesdale (Lord Amherst) was travelling to New York
on his way to Massachusetts. Coward used all his saved money
for the fare and sold two songs to Ned (Lord) Lathom, a rich
aristocrat and friend, who did not really want them. Coward's
original dream of 'promising playwright conquers New World' was
doomed to near failure partly due to his naivety and partly to
the absence of producers and theatre folk in general as they
appeared to have largely left New York for the summer. Determination,
writing to order, and the ruthless milking of his contacts and
rapidly-acquired friends kept him going, though he records being
at times very short of cash and food and heavily reliant on others.
He was to return later with increasing triumph as performances
of his plays were taken to America. It was not long before he
became an international figure, known and respected everywhere.
'I like America' he sang, and he genuinely did, and the Americans
themselves, who befriended him in droves. During WWII he was
sent by the Ministry of Information to America and toured the
States for some months before returning to Washington to assist
with the British War Relief effort. He visited America three
times during the war. His return in the 50's as a cabaret artist
- he feared the Americans would not appreciate his songs - was
received with acclaim. Airplanes full of American friends came
to see him perform in the desert resort of Las Vegas.
Australasia He visited
Australia at the suggestion of Richard Casey and following an
invitation from the Australian Government. The visit, part of
his troop entertainment tours included assisting in Red Cross
benefits and war charities. His broadcasts on Australian radio,
on behalf of the War Effort, are recorded in his book Australia
Visited. The broadcasts were repeated in New Zealand. According
to Future Indefinite Coward arrived on the Monterey
on November 16th 1940 and stayed for several weeks; a visit fondly
remembered by many Australians. Here seen broadcasting in Australia
He sought an accompanist at Romanos who fell
ill at the first concert. Marie Burke sent him one of her accompanists
(Sefton Daly - a New Zealander) and he toured! A mixtue of troop
and public concerts. He went next to New Zealand on the Mariposa
to Auckland for a month of troop concerts and other commitments
and then to Canton island for a rest.
- South America
- Bermuda Coward lived in Bermuda as his first respite from
the burden of UK taxes. Graham Payn recalls Noel's cooking which
consisted of putting in every herb and spice from the larder.
- China (Manchuria)
- Ceylon (Sri
Lanka) A Prairie Line freighter
took Jeffery Amherst and Noel Coward to Ceylon where they were
met by Erik, Noel's brother. Erik was a tea planter 'sent' to
Ceylon with financial support from Noel who had little time for
- Switzerland The European final home for Coward, Graham Payn
and Cole Lesley. Chateau Coward at Les Avants is still the home
of Graham Payn and therefore the Coward Estate. At the time of
Noel's residence he had many celebrity neighbours including Joan
Sutherland and her conductor husband, the Niven's and James Mason.
Joan Sutherland recalls the wonderful Christmas days spent in
Les Avants in Noel's company with visits to each other's houses.
- South Africa
- Gibraltar Visited as part of his Middle East tour in July
1943 after a journey by naval ship where he felt "serenely
happy" as he 'joined' the crew in the ward room and strutted
- Jamaica was an island of peace for Noel Coward. It provided
him with a haven away from the pressures of the theatrical world
and meeting and greeting the world at large. From an initial
stay at Ian Fleming's 'Goldeneye' to the purchase of a plot of
land and the building of Blue Harbour and eventually Firefly.
He rested, wrote, and entertained friends from across the globe.
Graham Payn, Cole Lesley & Joyce Carey were his constant
companions in this island paradise that he loved at first sight
and eventually became his final resting place.
- Jamaican links are: