Video: Enid Blyton treasures go under the hammer

FOR generations of children Enid Blyton's books opened up a magical world of storytelling and now items owned by her late daughter are to go under the hammer.

Gillian Baverstock, the elder daughter of the creator of Noddy, the Secret Seven and the Famous Five, lived in Ilkley for many years and items from her mother's archive are being auctioned.

The treasures include original watercolour book illustrations, manuscripts and even fur coats and capes owned by Blyton, with her initials embroidered in the lining.

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The lots will be sold by Hartleys, in Little Lane, Ilkley, later this month, who expect the sale to appeal to a variety of people from museums to collectors. Andrew Hartley, owner of the auction house, said: "There are a lot of people that have grown up with the author."

Mrs Baverstock was always passionately interested in her mother's work and Mr Hartley said: "I do know that she was extremely loyal to her mother and her memory and her work throughout her life.

"I think that the most important part of the collection will be the typescripts," he added.

There are 17 lots of original typescripts, including those for Five On A Hike Together, Last Term at Mallory Towers, and Cheer Up Little Noddy, many containing explanatory notes and comments. It is thought these could each fetch anywhere between 300-500.

Also up for sale is a handwritten letter from Blyton, sent to a Miss Joan Gregory, in 1965, discussing the difficulties of a child having their work published.

Mrs Baverstock, who died in 2007, at the age of 75, moved to Yorkshire in 1967, after her husband Donald became director of programmes with the newly-formed Yorkshire Television.

In an interview twelve months before her death Mrs Baverstock said she had a happy childhood and fondly remembered the almost daily joy of taking the drafts of her mother's books to bed, but admitted life wasn't always idyllic. With Blyton both dedicated and prolific, there were times when her two daughters took second place.

"We had a nanny, but so did a lot of families back then," she recalled.

"Mother would work from 10.30am to 1pm and then have lunch on her own, just reading the newspapers, before going back to writing until late afternoon.

"When she was just starting on a book, she had to have complete silence for the first day while she got all her thoughts down on paper."

By the time of her death in 1968 she had left a legacy of more than 700 publications and a place in the minds of generations of children.

Mrs Baverstock took on the responsibility of promoting Blyton's work, its value to children's literacy and in developing the reading habit and she was in constant demand to speak at schools up and down the country.

The auction also features the original typescript of Blyton's The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage, complete with the author's handwritten note, which is expected to fetch 300 to 500. A signed original painting by illustrator Treyer Meredith Evans, for the dust jacket of The Christmas Book, has been estimated at 600-800.

Mrs Baverstock's collection of her mother's archive also includes some 47 lots of books autographed or with comments by or for Enid Blyton and her family members.

Also up for sale are sets of her books sent to her as presentations from publishers, furniture and a portrait of the author.

The sale will be held at Hartley's Victoria Hall Salerooms, on Wednesday, September, 15, with viewing the previous Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

MAGICAL WORLD FOR CHILDREN

For many children the character of Noddy, a little wooden boy who loves to play, was their introduction to Enid Blyton with the author writing 24 original Noddy books by between 1942 and 1963.

Armed with lashings of ginger beer, torches, maps and sandwiches, Julian, Dick, Anne, their tomboy cousin George, whose full name was Georgina and Timmy the dog, the Famous Five, entertained readers with their many adventures.

George in the Famous Five books was based on a real girl and it has been claimed that the author told a literary agent that the character was based on herself.