Enid Blyton – An author loved by millions of children | Sunday Observer

Enid Blyton – An author loved by millions of children

Noddy and Big Ears, Shadow the sheep dog, the Secret Seven, the Famous Five, the Naughtiest girl, Barney and Miranda the monkey and Snubby and Loony the cocker spaniel are very popular characters and loved by children the world over for over 50 years .

These lovable characters were all created by Enid Blyton who is one of the most read and loved children's authors of all time. Over six-hundred million copies of her books have been sold to date.

Enid Mary Blyton was born on August 11 as the only daughter of Thomas and Therese Blyton. The family lived in a two bedroomed flat above a shop at 354, Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, South London. Soon after Enid was born they moved to Beckenham in Kent. Enid had two younger brothers called Hanley and Carey. Her father Thomas was a wholesaler of clothing and mother Theresa was a housewife. Theresa made Enid help with the household chores. Enid loved her father very much.

Her first school was in a house called Tresco and was run by two sisters. It was almost opposite Enid’s home. She was very happy here and was excellent at art and nature study. Enid Blyton says of her first school: “I remember everything about it - the room, the garden, the pictures on the wall, the little chairs, the dog there, and the lovely smells that used to creep out from the kitchen into our classroom when we sat doing dictation. I remember how we used to take biscuits for our mid-morning lunch and ‘swap’ them with one another - and how we used to dislike one small boy who was clever at swapping a small biscuit for a big one.”

In 1907, Enid entered St. Christopher’s School for Girls in Beckenham. She was a bright pupil and won prizes for different subjects, including English composition. She was became the tennis champion and lacrosse captain. During her last two years, she was the Head Girl of the school.

Her childhood games included Red Indians, cops and robbers and board games like Snakes and Ladders. Her father was keen that Enid learnt chess as he thought it would improve memory power. Enid played chess too. While at St. Christopher’s Enid along with two of her friends, Mary Attenborough and Michael Davis started a magazine called Dab.

The name was made up of the first letters of their Surnames. Enid wrote short stories for Dab. Enid love to read and Little Women by Louis M. Alcott and The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald were firm favourites. “Those were real children... ‘When I grow up, I will write books about real children,’ I thought. ‘That's the kind of book I like best. That's the kind of book I would know how to write", said Enid of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, the four girls in Little Women.

Enid’s mother and father separated and this made her very unhappy. She consoled herself by locking herself into her room and writing. She sent many of her works to publishers, but they were always rejected. Her first ever recorded contribution was to Nash’s Magazine in 1917 and was titled Have you? Arthur Mee published one of her early poems.

Enid was a talented musician and was due to start at the Guildhall of Music but changed her mind and followed a teacher training course instead. It was in the early 1920’s that Enid Blyton’s writing started to become popular. In 1926, she began writing and editing a fortnightly magazine called Sunny Stories for Little Folks which later became known as Sunny Stories.

From 1917, it was published as a weekly magazine. What is thought of as Enid Blyton’s first full length story The Enid Blyton Book of Brownies (later re-titled as The Adventures of Binkle and Flip was published in 1925).

Enid married Hugh Pollock , who was the editor of the book department for the publishing house, George Newnes and who helped Enid by getting her books published by George Newnes. They had two daughters , Gillian and Imogen who are featured in the book Bimbo and Topsy. In 1927 Enid Blyton Enid later divorced Hugh and married a surgeon, Kenneth Fraser Darrel Waters.

Till 1927 Enid Blyton wrote all her work in longhand but this year husband Hugh persuaded her to use a typewriter.

Enid moved house in 1938 and the Sunny Stories readers chose the name, Green Hedges. Which always became associated with Enid Blyton. It was around 1945 or a little thereafter that Enid Blyton started writing most of her series like The Secret Seven, the Famous Five, the Five Find Outers and a dog, Malory Towers and St. Clare’s.

In 1952 Enid Blyton stopped Sunny Stories and in 1953 She launched the Enid Blyton Magazine. This had four clubs that children could join in. They were the he Busy Bees (which helped animals), the Famous Five Club (which raised money for a children's home), the Sunbeam Society (which helped blind children) and the Magazine Club (which raised money for children who had spastic cerebral palsy).

Enid Blyton started health problems in the 1950’s and they got steadily worse and final she was admitted to a nursing home in Hampstead where she died peacefully on November 28, 1968 at the age of 71.

Over 600 million copies of Enid Blyton’s books have been sold and they have been translated into 90 languages.

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