Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Jolly Hockey Sticks!

When I was in my early teens I was completely obsessed with old fashioned school stories.  I liberated all my Mum's old books from the loft - Billy Bunter, Angela Brazil stories (from the 1920s) and The Abbey Girls series.  Half the time I didn't have a clue what was going on.  The slang was antiquated (even in the 1970s!) and I hadn't a clue how Lower 4b related to my school year!  To a certain extent I think it was the 'other worldliness' of the books that gave them their appeal.

However my all time favourite series had to be 'The Chalet School' series by Elinor M Brent Dyer.  This series is epic - the first book was written in the mid-1920s, the last one in the 1950s.  Some of the books were split where they were published as paperbacks, so there were about 60 books in total in the series. Armarda never had more than six or seven of them in print at any one time.  It became a bit of an obsession and I religiously collected as many as I could - even when I'd really out-grown them.  By my early 20s I probably had about half the series.

Then, one day, I hit lucky in a second hand bookshop near Manchester.  Mark noticed a box with some familiar titles under a table. We pulled it out and discovered almost all the books that I was missing in the series.  It was a 'now or never' moment... we bought all the books I needed to complete my series in one go.  I think the owner of the shop thought we were crazy - seeing two adults pouring over a box of rather tatty vintage school stories!

My Chalet School series sits on a couple of shelves in a corner of my study - chronologically ordered ofcourse!  In reality, I still have one book missing but I don't think it was ever published in the paperback series.  I still read them from time to time and I'm immensely proud of a collection that took almost 20 years to complete.

Do you have any on-going collections that have kept you occupied for years?


  1. well done you. I am slowly collecting a dinner service. its called the coppice by royal doulton and I bought my first piece aged 13 from a jumble sale. it has grown since then. I love looking for it at jumble sales and antique shops.

  2. I've never heard of The Chalet School series, but I used to love stories about boarding schools, they always sounded so much fun. You certainly struck lucky in the second hand bookshop, it must be a treasured collection now after all the years it took to complete it.

  3. I have been collecting some Wedgewood items for over 30 years, the design is called Meadowsweet and its relatively cheap to buy but I love it and now have quite a lot.I love coming across a new piece!

  4. Hi Jan
    I collected the Enid Blyton hardback books in the 70s, and have just sold my last one, I sold the others at a Vintage fair last year. Sad I know, but the Magic Faraway Tree unfortunately did not have the same magic for my two children. I also loved the Mallory Towers books.
    Now, I collect embroidered cloths and old linens, teapots, teasets,old glass (I could go on....!)

  5. OOOOHHHHHH squealing with excitement! I totally adored the chalet school when I was a child and started to read them again a few years ago soooooo jealous you have the set! I have a few paperbacks from the early eighties when I used to spend all my pocket money on them (not very cool really!) Would love to see some pictures of the dust jackets. x