Enid Blyton

Enidblyton3British children’s writer Enid Mary Blyton sadly died 28 November 1968. Born 11 August 1897, she was educated at St. Christopher’s School in Beckenham, From 1907 to 1915, before leaving as head girl. She enjoyed physical activities along with some academic work, but not maths. Enid Blyton’s former house “Old Thatch” near Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, England. Blyton was a talented pianist, but gave up her musical studies when she trained as a teacher at Ipswich High School. She taught for five years at Bickley, Surbiton and Chessington, writing in her spare time. Her first book, Child Whispers, a collection of poems, was published in 1922. On 28 August 1924 Blyton married Major Hugh Alexander Pollock, DSO (1888–1971), editor of the book department in the publishing firm of George Newnes, which published two of her books that year. The couple moved to Bourne End, Buckinghamshire (Peters wood in her books). Eventually they moved to a house in Beaconsfield, named Green Hedges by Blyton’s readers following a competition in Sunny Stories. They had two children: Gillian Mary Baverstock (15 July 1931 – 24 June 2007) and Imogen Mary Smallwood (born 27 October 1935).In the mid-1930s Blyton experienced a spiritual crisis, but she decided against converting to Roman Catholicism from the Church of England because she had felt it was “too restricting”. Although she rarely attended church services, she saw that her two daughters were baptised into the Anglican faith and went to the local Sunday School.

Enidblyton1Unfortunately By 1939 her marriage to Pollock was crumbling, and she began a series of affairs. In 1941 she met Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters, a London surgeon with whom she began a relationship. During her divorce, Blyton blackmailed Pollock into taking full blame for the failure of the marriage, knowing that exposure of her adultery would ruin her public image. She promised that if he admitted to charges of infidelity, she would allow him unlimited access to their daughters. However, after the divorce, Pollock was forbidden to contact his daughters, and Blyton ensured he was unable to find work in publishing afterwards. He turned to drinking heavily and was forced to petition for bankruptcy. Blyton and Darrell Waters married at the City of Westminster Register Office on 20 October 1943, and she subsequently changed the surname of her two daughters to Darrell Waters. Pollock remarried thereafter. Blyton’s second marriage was very happy and, as far as her public image was concerned, she moved smoothly into her role as a devoted doctor’s wife, living with him and her two daughters at Green Hedges.

Blyton’s husband tragically died in 1967 and during the following months, she became increasingly ill. Afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, Blyton was moved into a nursing home three months before her death; she died at the Greenways Nursing Home, London, on 28 November 1968, aged 71 years and was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium where her ashes remain. Blyton’s home, Green Hedges, was sold in 1971 and demolished in 1973. The area where Green Hedges once stood is now occupied by houses and a street called Blyton Close. An English Heritage blue plaque commemorates Blyton at Hook Road in Chessington, where she lived from 1920-4. Her daughter Imogen has been quoted as saying “The truth is Enid Blyton was arrogant, insecure, pretentious, very skilled at putting difficult or unpleasant things out of her mind, and without a trace of maternal instinct. As a child, I viewed her as a rather strict authority. As an adult I pitied her.” Her elder daughter, Gillian, did not hold the same view toward their mother, and Imogen’s biography of Blyton contains a foreword by Gillian to the effect that her memories of childhood with Enid Blyton were mainly happy ones.

One of Blyton’s most widely known characters is Noddy in Toyland, where all the central characters are toys who come alive when humans are not around. Blyton’s also wrote many children s Adventure Stories which involve ordinary children in extraordinary situations, having adventures, solving crimes, or otherwise finding themselves in unusual circumstances. Examples include the Famous Five and Secret Seven, the Five Find Outers and the Adventure series. Some of Blyton’s books involve Boarding Schools and have more emphasis on the day-to-day life at school, like midnight feasts, practical jokes and the social interaction of the various types of character, examples include the Malory Towers stories, the St Clare’s series, and the Naughtiest Girl books. Some Blyton books involve Children being transported into a magical world in which they meet fairies, goblins, elves, pixies, or other fantasy creatures. Such as The Wishing-Chair books and The Faraway Tree. Blyton also wrote many short stories,

Enid Blyton’s Most successful works include: The Noddy books, the Secret Seven series, The Malory Towers series, The St. Clare’s series, The Wishing-Chair series, The Magic Faraway Tree series, Book of Brownies, Amelia Jane series, The Five Find-Outers (Also known as Enid Blyton’s Mystery series), The Famous Five series, The Adventure Series, The Barney Mystery series, The Circus series, The Mistletoe Farm series, The Naughtiest Girl series, The Young Adventurers Series and the Adventurous Four Series. Blyton’s books have sold more than 600 million copies.From 2000 to 2010, she was still listed as a Top Ten author, selling 7,910,758 copies (worth £31.2m) in the UK alone. In 2003, The Magic Faraway Tree was voted no. 66 in the BBC’s Big Read. In the 2008 Costa Book Awards, Blyton was voted Britain’s best-loved author.

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