Enid Blyton Lived Here

Enid Mary Blyton was (and is still) an extremely popular children’s author. She was born in East Dulwich, South London on 11 August 1897. She was the first child of Thomas Blyton and Theresa Harrison and was Head Girl at St Christopher’s School for Girls, Beckenham – the inspiration for her later school-themed books, maybe?

Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton (Photo: enidblyton.co.uk)

During her school days, she created a magazine called Dab with two friends and honed her writing skills by writing short stories for it.

After training as a teacher she became governess to four boys in Surbiton, Surrey. It was during the early 1920s that she started to publish her work, her first being a volume of poetry called Child Whispers, in 1922. 

Enid Blyton lived on Hook Road, Chessington, from 1920 – 1924. Her time living in the area is commemorated by a blue plaque placed on the house.

Enid Blyton Blue Plaque, Chessington
Enid Blyton Blue Plaque, Chessington (Photo: English Heritage)

Enid is believed to have written around 700 books, including Noddy and the Amelia Jane series. Her prolific output was questioned, resulting in her being accused of employing ghostwriters, an accusation that was strongly denied. 

She died on 28 November 1968. At the time of her death, she was one of the most successful children’s authors in the world.

Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree Series
Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree Series (Photo: Enidblyton.co.uk)

Enid’s books have sold over 500 million copies, have been translated to over 40 languages and in the UK her books still sell at over one per minute.

Enid Blyton Malory Towers
Enid Blyton Malory Towers (Photo: enidblyton.co.uk)

I loved Enid Blyton books growing up, the series listed below were my favourites. 

Enid Blyton St Clare's
Enid Blyton St Clare’s (Photo: enidblyton.co.uk)

The Famous Five

The Secret Seven

The Magic Faraway Tree

Malory Towers 

St Clare’s

I still love reading a series of books, I love the episodic way the story continues, although these days I prefer thrillers and police procedurals. 

I have to admit to feeling a little excited when I found out that the favourite author of my pre-teen years had lived a five-minute drive from my house – albeit 95 years ago and for only a short period of her life. 

Enid Blyton’s books have been accused of being dated, elitist, sexist and using language that we wouldn’t use in modern parlance. The discourse criticising the characteristics of her writing has resulted in the current editions of her most popular titles being edited in a contemporary style.

I don’t think it was something I noticed when I was reading Blyton’s books in the 1970s. But then, I’ve always loved dipping into nostalgia, not that I could have put a name to it back then, I was always eager for one book to finish and another one to start. She brought a little magic and mystery into my childhood and instilled in me a love of books and for that I’m grateful.

Sources:

http://www.blueplaqueplaces.co.uk/enid-blyton-blue-plaque-in-london-353#.WzeZDi2ZMxg

https://www.enidblyton.co.uk/about-the-author/

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/blyton-enid-1897-1968

21 thoughts on “Enid Blyton Lived Here

  1. I was an avid reader of Enid Blyton too. I particularly liked Malory Towers, Twins at St Clare’s, Famous Five and the “Island (etc) of adventure” series. Unlike you, I was worried that I might be sent to boarding school, because although I enjoyed reading about it I didn’t think I would like being there without my family. Our economic situation was such that there was no way we could have afforded it anyway, which I think shows that the class differences etc went right over my head.

    In my day (60s) there weren’t any YA books to graduate to so I went straight into adult books that also came in series, first Agatha Christie then Jean Plaidy who inspired my interest in history. Her books were also a wee bit racy so they helped with the sex education too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I was a few years later so we did have some YA books (I called them teenage love books!) I did read one or two Jean Plaidy but I went straight into the more racier adult books. Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen E Woodiwiss spring to mind.

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  2. I devoured Enid Blyton books as a child, and kept reading them over and over again. I especially loved the Naughtiest Girl in the School series, the Famous Five, and the Magic Faraway Tree (ah, those hot-cold goodies!). Thanks for a lovely trip down memory lane. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was chatting to my mum and sister yesterday, apparently, the books I read in the 70s were the books that my mum read to my sisters in the 60s. Naughty Amelia Jane was another I liked and there was Brer Rabbit, too. It’s amazing how many favourite series Enid Blyton did write, and for children of different ages, she certainly was prolific.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you I grew up reading Enid Blyton and was delighted to read all of the Famous Five books and most of the Secret 7. This brought those days back – I will definitely have to have a look for her blue plaque some day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Enid Blyton’s books. I wish I kept them from when I was child. The reprints nowadays just don’t seem the same.

    And more importantly, I used to live in Surbiton! I didn’t realise she had a connection there!

    Liked by 1 person

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