Thanks to a comment on one of my previous posts, from a reader saying that it would be nice to have a list of locations that Enid Blyton used for inspiration and where she lived, I have decided to put this post together. I’m going to first start off with her home locations; places we know she lived, loved and worked. Then over the next few blogs I’ll look the places she might have used for inspiration in her stories and why. Finally the plan is to look at the places used in filming the two Famous Five TV series for those avid TV fans!
So let’s get started with those home locations of Enid Blyton’s!
Beckenham, South London, near to Bromley is the birthplace of our great author. She began her humble life in a small terraced house near the station. Fiona and I visited a few years ago now with the Enid Blyton Society. You can find our blog about it here with the walk we took. There are five of Blyton’s former homes here, plus a school she worked at, the church she went to Sunday School in and a street called Malory Close. This will be helpful if anyone else out there wants to follow the same route and take in places from Blyton’s early life. For any enthusiast, it is a fantastic walk as long as it isn’t raining!
Bourne End is possibly my favourite place that Enid Blyton lived. Such a beautiful walking area down by the River Thames, a pleasure to walk the bank and watch the boats go by. You can really feel as though you might bump into Enid Blyton with either of her two girls, or first husband, Hugh Pollock, walking their dog, Bobs.
Hidden away in Bourne End is the spectacular ancient cottage, Old Thatch, where Blyton spent a part of her life (from 1929 to 1938). The thatched roof, roaming gardens and beautiful surroundings were a favourite visiting place of mine up until Old Thatch’s owners decided to close their award winning gardens to the public. However, that should not deter you from visiting Bourne End and walking down by the river. It really is a spectacular place! (And you can usually get a look at Old Thatch through the hedge!)
To cap it all off, I do believe that Bourne End was the inspiration for Blyton’s Five Find-Outers and Dog’s village of Peterswood. She took the charm of her own village and put the Five Find-Outers right in the middle of it. The magic of that single piece of inspiration can just entice you to go searching for Fatty, Pips, Larry, Daisy, little Bets and Buster in the local area on the search for clues and eating gooey macaroons and ice creams. Places mentioned in the book by name are other places to go and visit as well, such as Marlow, just down the road from Bourne End and Burnham Beeches which is not even a fifteen minute drive away from the glorious Old Thatch.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat as well, next door to Old Thatch, is a very well aged, good food pub called The Spade Oak. Thoroughly recommend it on your trip to visit this lovely area.
You can see all our blogs on Bourne End here just to give you a flavour of how beautiful it is.
Beaconsfield, is simply ‘up the road’ from Bourne End and Old Thatch, approximately a fifteen minute drive once again. This makes these three locations perfect for a whole day or two in the same area as they are so close together and as an Enid Blyton enthusiast you will want to spend as much time as possible at these locations!
The first place I suggest you visit in Beaconsfield would be Blyton Close. This is the location of where Green Hedges once stood. As Green Hedges was torn down in 1973 to make way for a housing development so we no longer have that luxury of being able to view the grand house that Blyton moved into in 1938 and lived in until shortly before her death, when she moved into a nursing home. A lot of her famous parties for children took place there, and she ended up doing most of her writing in Green Hedges.
Once you’ve finished with Blyton Close – literally the name is all that makes it stand out as something an enthusiast would want to see – you have a couple of options. The pub opposite is supposed to have been frequented by Blyton during her time in the house, I believe so that would be worth a visit.
The next place you will want to visit in Beaconsfield is Bekonscot. Bekonscot is a model village and railway that has an array of delights for those of all ages (Fiona especially enjoyed it!) For the Enid Blyton aficionado however, the delight comes half way around the model village is a model of Green Hedges with a little Enid Blyton sitting outside it with her typewriter, writing a story while some children who look like they’re supposed to be the Famous Five exploring and splashing around in her pond.
The whole place is delightful and quirky; there is plenty to look at and enjoy, even if you just have this one little piece of Blyton memorabilia it is a brilliant place to visit and enjoy. There is always something to look at, examine and enjoy. Some of the things we saw we could not believe were actually happening in this small model village. You can find our blog about it here. To cap it all off, Blyton wrote a small book all about Bekonscot, and what sort of a model village it was. They do actually sell this small book in the gift shop (an old railway carriage) for something close to 50p – at least it was 50p in 2013. Prices may vary!
So there you are; your first part of Blyton’s Britain. We focused on her homes today, and hopefully when I’ve done a bit more research we can look at other places you could go to to get your Blyton fix. These three places can be done comfortably over two days – Fiona and I did that in 2013 – while enjoying the whole Blyton atmosphere that surrounds a proper fan when they just cross the border into Buckinghamshire.
Let me know if you do go to any of these places! They come highly recommended!
This was very interesting.
I went to Blyton Close in May 1981, was shocked that Green Hedges was gone!
Now I’m looking forward to part 2.
Thank you :)!
How lovely Stef. You have reminded me of some of my favourite Blyton locations with happy memories of meeting Forum members and having a lovely time – those were the days! How nice it would be to do the same again…….sigh. Thank you Stef.
Very interesting. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Finniston Farm was based on a real farm in Dorset that Enid owned and sometimes lived in. Is that right?
Would have to check this Chris, but it is possible.
I’ve been digging around and found this review on the Enid Blyton Society site saying that Finniston Farm was based on a farm owned by Blyton in Stourton Candle in Dorset: http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/book-details.php?id=211
And this article in The Telegraph says that it was in Sturminster Newton and that she owned and visited it but never actually lived there: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/725320/UK-A-Dorset-adventure.html
Maybe they are both correct as a review on EnidBlyton.net says it was based on “Manor Farm at Stourton Caundle near Sturminster Newton, which Enid and her husband bought in 1956.” http://www.enidblyton.net/famous-five/five-on-finniston-farm.html
Enough I think …..
Manor Farm at Stourton Caundle.
Stef: Thanks for the tour of EB’s early years. Given that I will in all probability, never see Britain, you have shown me what is otherwise unseeable to me.