In September, Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books successfully purchased, at auction, several original typescripts by Enid Blyton, along with numerous printed books and some related ephemeral material. The purchase was made possible by special funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the generosity of two private donors. We are delighted that these papers and books, which would otherwise have been sold to private collectors, have found a home in our collection.
Understandably, given the popularity of Enid Blyton’s work, there has been a great deal of interest in this acquisition, and people are very keen to see the typescripts for themselves. We are fully committed to making the Enid Blyton Collection as accessible as possible to the public, and are already making plans for a major exhibition and other public activities which will allow her fans to get up close and personal with the archive material. However, before any of that can happen there is a lot of work that has to be done, behind the scenes, to make sure we have a proper record of the collection and to protect the physical objects themselves.
As the Seven Stories archivist, my job is to create a complete catalogue of the collection, giving full descriptions of all the material we have and setting it within the wider context of Enid Blyton’s prolific career. Once the cataloguing is complete, the collection will pass into the capable hands of our conservator, Peter. Peter will assess the conservation requirements of every item, and ensure everything is suitably packaged and stored using appropriate materials. As part of this, every single page of each typescript will be encased in special transparent sleeves which will protect them from handling damage, and slow down the natural deterioration of the paper.
The purpose of this blog is to keep all curious Enid Blyton fans informed of what’s going on behind the scenes. Peter and I will be posting regular updates as the work progresses, and sharing any interesting discoveries we make along the way. We welcome comments and questions from any visitors to the blog, and we’ll do our best to answer them as fully and as promptly as possible! Hopefully, this blog will allow all of you to feel involved in the work that is being done to care for and protect Enid’s typescripts for the nation, as well as giving you ‘backstage’ access to the work of the collection team. We are incredibly excited about the work ahead, and we are delighted to have all of you along for the ride!