Last Thursday Stef and I went all the way to Newcastle to visit Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books. It currently has the only exhibition on Blyton and her work, which is complete with a great deal of Blyton’s personal things including hand-edited manuscripts and even her typewriter.
Our day started fairly early as we had to catch the train at 9.40 to be in Newcastle for 1pm, and after a three hour train journey (including a brief stop at Edinburgh Waverley where we changed trains) we arrived. We’d done our research and planned our route to Seven Stories, deciding to walk as it wasn’t that far. We missed a signpost along the way though and ended up taking a bit of a detour, and we had to consult Google maps to get ourselves back on track.
Finally we found ourselves outside quite impressive looking Seven Stories building, taking a few photos before we went in of course.
(Interesting to note, Seven Stories is so called for two reasons; one the old mill building has seven floors, each with a distinct purpose, and second; to go along with the old idea that there are only seven types of story, and each story told is just a new way of telling one of them.)
The whole building is lovely inside, bright and airy and we made sure to explore it all. We started with the Enid Blyton exhibition, naturally, which is in a fairly large room split into lots of distinct areas.
THE FAMOUS FIVE
First up was the Famous Five, the walls all covered with pictures and little snippets about everything to do with the series. (We even spotted a familiar face from the forums, can you?)
THE ADVENTURE SERIES
Next was a smaller area with things from the Adventure Series and a little of the Five-Find Outers, but not an awful lot which was a shame as these are two quite major series. On saying that they obviously had limited space and at least the series were represented.
THE SECRET SEVEN
The Secret Seven’s shed is replicated at Seven Stories, complete with picnics inside, which I just had to sample.
Next came a whole small room dressed like a school-room slash study, full of things to do with the school series as well as Blyton and her daughter’s times at school. A nice touch was the dressing-up things in the corner where children (and us) could pretend to be a Malory Towers or St Clare’s pupil.
THE ENCHANTED WOOD
The next area was the Enchanted Wood, complete with a (very small) slippery-slip which I did not attempt to go down. I did enjoy the lovely cakes, though.
Just across the way is Noddy and Toyland complete with Noddy’s car (which was incredibly popular, every time we popped in to have a go ourselves there was a child sitting wildly spinning the steering wheel and having a grand time. Stef managed a turn on our second trip round the exhibition late in the afternoon but I had to make do with making a house for Noddy out of foam bricks.
I’m going to leave it there for tonight, I was late in starting this blog (partly because the blog itself got suspended by mistake for several scary hours, and also because it’s my other half’s birthday today.) I will cover the rest of the Blyton exhibition as well as the other floors of the centre in another post soon.