Enid Blyton, English children's writer
Enid Blyton is a famous English writer who has produced more than 700
books, reliably more than many other writer of note. Her work has been
translated into more than 40 languages more recently into Sinhala too
and sold in millions the world over.
Many of her stories in a series have been developed into successful
TV programs both animated and live action, earlier pantomime shows
jigsaw puzzles, toys playing cards, records all of which became
Her stories have a universal appeal, for children to acquire the joys
and skills of reading and the discovery of the world around them. Also,
they allow children to use their imagination and at the same time giving
the feeling that they are living and moving with the characters in the
story. Her house was one of the best known in the country at the time. A
letter addressed to her to Green Hedges London would most probably reach
As a child I remember spending many happy hours with a book written
by her. When I was between 9 and 12 years of age and studying in a
Colombo school, the children in my class read one Enid Blyton book after
another. We all waited for a book release so that it would come on to
bookshelves in our bookshops. Being an affluent school, the parents
would buy a book for a child as soon as one appeared and I would get one
unfailingly for my Birthday which I would exchange with others.
Later on just before exam time it was a relief for the mind to read
an Enid Blyton book, say from the naughtiest girl series and after heavy
mental stress it was nice to relax with a book after the exam.
Towards middle age, I developed a curiosity to know more about her.
The 21st century being highly advanced technologically, I found the
information that I sought through the Internet.
It provided a feedback for my curiosity to know about where she
lived, her family life, how she obtained the material for her books, her
social service activities. Born on August 11, 1897 above a shop in East
Dulwich London, she was the eldest child of Thomas Carey and Theresa
Blyton. Her father was originally from Sheffield and had to move to
London for his employers, a cutlery firm. He was a quite well read man
of many interests.
She and her father spent many hours walking in the countryside where
he passed on his knowledge of nature plant and animal life, seasons,
variations. Her father's family was musically minded. From 1907-1915 she
was educated at St. Christopher's High school in Bechanhan where she
enjoyed academic and extra curricular activities and excelled in her
work as head girl.
Her parents married life was gradually falling apart. Her mother had
a grievance against the daughter that she was not learning to be the
mother housekeeper but was wasting time on walking about. In 1910 her
father moved out and began a family with another woman. Her mother had
never been close to her. They moved to a house at Elm rd Bechanhan.
In 1910 Arthur Mee picked one of her poems in a magazine with very
good results. In 1914 she opened her own infants' school.
Enid Blytonís former house
In 1922 she had a book of poems published, A Child Whispers. This was
going to be the beginning of a serious writing career. She married Hugh
Pollock in 1914 and they moved to Elfin Cottage. She had 2 daughters, by
him by her marriage Gillianin 1931 and Imogen in 1933. They were
baptised as Anglicans. She was not a regular church goer as she has
It is said that she would laugh to herself sometimes. She needed
someone who understood her mentality. After all some of her stories made
children laugh heartily. Mr Meddle, Mr & Mrs Tuiddle stories would have
made even the writer laugh.
In 1937 she wrote Adventure of the wishing chair, in 1938. The Secret
Island her full length Adventure Story.
She divorced in 1942, the same year her first Famous Five story was
published and married Darrel Kenneth Waters a surgeon in London in 1943
having had a relationship with him for about five years.
May be she couldn't attend to household work all the time but there
would have been a cook, a maid to do the work so whatever her daughters
thought and said they should have taken everything in the night spirit.
An Easterner would have said "if Mum is happy then we are happy too."
The famous five stories revolve round three children, the eldest
Julian, next Dick, Anne the youngest they have as wick called Quentin in
the country, he has a daughter called Georgina a Tomboy who insists on
being called George, and her faithful dog Timmy. George is initially
suspicious of the newcomers to her domain 5 but in time become the best
of friends and have many adventures.
Many of her stories are set in Dorset, which Enid discovered in 1931
and staying variously at "The Ship", "The Grosvenor" and "The Grand
Hotels". Enid and Kenneth seen to have made a point of swimming round
what were 2 piers at Peril and Swanage Bay.
In 1950 Kenneth purchased the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club for a
pittance, because the then owner Harry Palmer being ill was in financial
Enid's husband sold it in 1965 to Harry Randolph. There was plenty to
stimulate her imagination in Purbeck including several castles,
lighthouses, lots of sandy beaches, steep cliffs, swimming pools,
harbours, wreckers ways used in the olden days by smugglers.
For the stories "Kirrin Castle" is based on Corfe. Whispering Island
is based on Brown Sea Island. Mystery Moor is supposed to be the Heath
between Stoborough and Corfe and Finnston Farm her own farm at
The year 1940 brought "Little Noddy goes to Toyland" with sales
soaring skyhigh, 24 pictures were to be followed by Beek. Her hero Bill
Smuggs was a person she had met at the Grosvenor Hotel in the early
1940's. Mr Plod the policeman is founded on a Studland Policeman of
those days, possibly P.C. Christopher Rhone.
She remained a regular contributor to papers like the standard
guardian and to magazines. She was the editor of her own shary stories
magazine for some years. She launched Enid Blyton's magazine in 1953 but
it ceased publication in 1959. This gave her books in instalment form
and children clamoured to get copies once a fortnight when it care out.
Although the stories of Secre seven are the most well-known, she
wrote many tales of other children having fantastic adventures.
The most popular school girl story series are Malory Towers and St
Clares. Of the magical books the most widely read are the Wishing Chair
and Faraway Tree series.
In the circus stories we encounter circus life though children they
live in Caravans Camp on a common where there is water in plenty, keep
clear of the police, and when he weather is fine try to earn enough,
when the circus performs in the big top for the slack season when the
weather is not fine.
There are also stories on farm life in England. The Children of
Cherry Tree farm, Children of Willow Farm and Adventures on Willow Farm.
The Barney Mystery Series contain one central character (Barney) who
with a variety of circus troupe as he has no father and his mother is
dead. In Rub-A-Dub mystery he finds his father.
There is also the adventure series, sea, valley, mountain of
adventure. These are bigger books with more words and they take more
time to complete. Then the Brer rabbit, fox and bear books which even
elders enjoy. Then a book like six bad boys, how jointly life made then
aggressive, she was at the sessions at the Juvenile courts before
writing that. This tells children to get on with their studies and find
suitable jobs even though family life is not satisfactory.
A book like Rub-a-long tales where Ma Rubalong and her son, a
shoemaker come to tiptop village and settle down and how they move with
the characters there. In addition her bedside books, first, second etc,
big holiday articles, nature tales like Round the Year with Enid Blyton,
Bible tales, Bible reading for each day of the year told children to be
religious minded. She did not leave any stone unturned.
She wrote in the form of the ideal mother, after all it was how it
should be, about the Rector at the parsonage, in any trouble getting
advice from him, going to the church on the hill on Sundays, she also
wrote stories about day-to-day life in a middle class home, 'Family at
Red Roofs, House at the corner and in the late 1950's, children at Green
Meadows. Also 'The boy next door,' Shadow the sheep dog they became
Critics point to her limited vocabulary, her immature style, short
sentences, little description, but they were for children and they
enjoyed her books.
She had a news letter page in her magazine where she carried out a
close rapport with children all over the world and children's letters
were published where they claim they were able to reform themselves for
the better, after reading her stories, because almost everyone of them
carries a moral.
She had competitions and donated her books as prizes and also carried
out social service work through clubs, Busy Bees, Sunbeams, Enid Blytons
magazine club complete with club meetings and rules.
Her output involves children's fantasy sometimes involving the
supernatural. Her books soon became immensely popular in Britain, India
and Australia and translated into more than 40 languages Malay, Spanish,
French, Finnish, German, Japanese, Hebrew, Chinese and much later
At one point, early stages she produced more than 10,000 words a day
such a prolific output, usually sitting on a garden swing with a small
typewriter on her knees. That led may to believe that her work was that
of an unseen person which was wrong of course.
Her books are generally split into 3 types, one involving ordinary
children in extraordinary situations, having adventures and finding
themselves in unusual circumstances.
The second type is the boarding school story, the third type is the
fantastical where children are transported into a magical world where
they meet fairies, gobling, selves and other fantastical creatures.
Later in the late 1950's when the strength of her faculties was
diminishing, the children stood by her. They wrote happenings concerning
themselves and their experiences which she wove into stories.
They actually helped her when she was finding it increasingly
difficult to think out things due to her illness too. For 40 years she
wrote for them and naturally they helped her in her senile stage.
Towards the late 1960's the climax had come, she could not write any
more. She couldn't type at all, after the death of her beloved husband
in 1967, she became increasingly ill and passed away in her sleep, her
illness now known as Alzheimer's disease in a Nursing Home at Hamstead.