Beckenham’s famous Blytons exhibition at Central Library

An exhibition showcasing Beckenham’s beloved children’s author Enid Blyton and her composer nephew Carey Blyton ran until 8 February 2013 and smaller version was in Beckenham Library in May 2013. This was a fascinating exhibition, including many old books, photos and documents.

The ‘Carey’s Aunt and Enid’s Nephew’ exhibition included highlights including some of Enid’s published works and Carey’s musical scores. Beckenham Historian, Cliff Watkins compares the lives of and traces the links between the famous Blytons of Beckenham and the ongoing legacy left by them.

“Our towns have been inventive and creative hotbeds over the years and have produced many famous faces, including the much loved author Enid Blyton and her talented nephew.  This exhibition will reveal the links in their lives and facts about their works.  To find out more about these household names for yourself, why not come along to the Central Library” said Catrin Holland, Archivist at Bromley Local Studies and Archives.

Much-loved children’s author Enid Blyton lived in Beckenham from 1897 to 1929 and had more than 7,000 works published, which include the Famous Five, Noddy, the Secret Seven and the Faraway Tree.  Come along to the exhibition and see some of the 7,000 works published by Enid as novels, poems and short stories in magazines and periodicals.

Her nephew, the composer Carey Blyton lived in Beckenham from 1932 to 1962 and composed more than 150 works, including the first ever music for Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  Carey Blyton worked for 5 years with Britain’s most famous 20th Century composer, Benjamin Britten.  Some of his most evocative works were written during the 1950s when he and friends created The Beckenham Salon.  Examples of some of Carey’s works will also be on display, including the scores of his Victorian Melodramas and his book of nonsense poems.

Bromley Local Studies and Archives is located at the Central Library in Bromley town centre.  It is open Monday to Saturday and offers resources going back hundreds of years, on topics related to the local area. It has specialist collections on The Crystal Palace, Walter de la Mare and H.G. Wells and works closely with the Bromley Museum  based  at  The  Priory,  Orpington.   It  also houses  the  archives  for  the borough and  has  extensive  family  history  resources.  A  range  of  local  history publications for sale are available from the local studies library.