Tuesday 11 August 2015

Blyton Born

Born on this day in 1897 was Enid Blyton, who became (and even remains) one of the most popular, biggest-selling children's writers who ever lived. She was born in an apartment above a shop on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, a stone's throw from the Victorian public library where I, back in the Seventies and Eighties, worked as a reference librarian.
 By then, the name of Blyton had become a hissing and a byword; her books were not to be found on the shelves of the children's library, and the London Borough of Southwark (within which Dulwich falls) - a borough otherwise very diligent in celebrating its famous residents or natives - had quite erased Blyton and her birthplace from its collective memory and archives. I was glad to see, then, that there is now a Blue Plaque on that undistinguished building on Lordship Lane. It even bears the name of the London Borough of Southwark, albeit with the ambiguous (disowning?) 'Voted by the People' below. Southwark's Blue Plaque to Sam Wanamaker bears the same legend. The man who got the reconstructed Globe Theatre built was regarded by the council, during my Southwark years, as a right royal pain in the butt.

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