Although Conrad Road is located in that part of Plymouth where there are a number of roads named after celebrated British authors and although Joseph Conrad was a naturalised British subject, he was not born in Britain, indeed he did not even come to these shores until he was twenty two.
Born in the Polish Ukraine (then part of Russia) in 1857 he was christened Teodor Jozef Konrad Korzeniowski. Five years later his father was arrested for secret activities (for Polish freedom) and exiled to northern Russia. Jozef and his mother went too, but she died three years later and his father was then allowed to live in Cracow. In 1868, when Jozef was barely ten years old, his father died too and the young orphan remained in Cracow, studying, for a further six years, before heading for Marseilles to satisfy a longing for the sea. The next twenty years he spent at sea but, after visiting Lowestoft in 1874 he resolved to become a “British seaman and no other.” Within eight years he had learnt English, qualified as a master mariner and become a naturalised British subject. A thoughtful and incisive writer his first novel was published in 1895, five years after he had begun working on it. That same year he gave up the sea to concentrate on writing.