Picking up from where I left off here, after The Famous Five, Adventure Series, Secret Seven, Faraway Tree and Noddy, the next bit of the exhibition was about Blyton’s non-fic work, her nature books in particular.
Some of those books were on display, alongside a large touchy-feely mural and some rather large stuffed bugs and beetles. We didn’t spend an awful long time in this section, but it was nice to see her possibly less-famous area of writing being celebrated. In fact, shamefully, we spent so little time in it we didn’t manage to take any pictures to show you… so moving swiftly on!
The final area was about Blyton’s working life mostly, her output of books and the media’s perception of her. One wall was a montage of newspaper articles and headlines, the rest was a sort of mock-up of a study complete with writing desk. Blyton’s own typewriter was on display there, as well as a sort of ‘jute box’ showing a large selection of book covers by year. Sneakily, we left a blog business card on the bulletin board there!
After the blyton exhibition (which took us an hour or so) we decided to explore the rest of the centre to see what it had to offer.
We went up to their other exhibition, on Judith Kerr, and had a wander about. Neither of us have really read much of her work, though I’m a fan of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, so we really just had a brief wander through to say we’d seen it. The highlight was a large kitchen, full of food to feed the enormous tiger sat at the table.
THE SEVEN STORIES SHOP
After the exhibitions we went down to the shop and had a good, long look around. There were books relating to authors who have had exhibitions there as well as plenty of books for all ages of children. Naturally we searched out the Blytons and at first were disappointed by the meagre shelf-and-a-half we found. Then, feeling slightly foolish, we turned to see several large bookshelves stuffed with Blytons in the ‘exhibition authors’ area.
As mentioned in other blogs I bought an audio book of Five Go to Smuggler’s Top/Five Get Into a Fix and a badge saying ‘monitor’, and Stef bought the 70s series collectors’ edition DVD. We were like… what’s that well known phrase? Book lovers in a bookshop.
Next we headed for the cafe where we had great slabs of some very nice lemon cake and bottles of juice (not ginger beer but they were in Blytonesque glass bottles.)
AND THE REST…
After that we had another look around the Blyton exhibition in case there was anything we missed, and then a peek into the story lab, a room where they have workshops for children (though there was nothing on at that very moment).
Then we climbed to the very top floor known as the artist’s attic where they hold story times. Again, it was empty, but that meant we could explore in peace and admire the all the books hanging from the roof like a huge mobile.
(The book lover in me wants to be offended by the ruination of books… but they all looked really boring so I’ll forgive them!)
After that we popped down to the lowest level to check out the creation station where visitors can do all sorts of literary based crafts.
We didn’t leave until almost closing time, having insisted on visiting all seven stories. When we did leave we took the right route back, stopping off for tea (or dinner if you ask Stef) on the way before getting on a train just before seven.
And that was our day! If you can get to Newcastle before the 30th of April next year, I really do recommend you visit Seven Stories. It only costs £6.50 for an adult and there’s plenty to see and do to keep you entertained (we were there about three and a half hours, but we could have taken longer if we wanted to!) It’s even worth taking a bit of a trip to visit Newcastle just for it, as so far (at least to my knowledge) there are no confirmed places for when it goes on tour next year, and you wouldn’t want to miss out. Our six hour round trip (not to mention the £80 on train fares between us) was totally worth it IMHO.
I’ve now nicked some more photos from Stef, of the two of us being a bit silly in the exhibition so I’ll tack them on the end here to give you all a laugh.