Video: Enid Blyton's poems enjoyed at world premiere in Beckenham

News Shopper: Composer Gordon Carr with historian Cliff Watkins before the Enid Blyton premiere Composer Gordon Carr with historian Cliff Watkins before the Enid Blyton premiere

ENID Blyton is renowned for her books where children have spiffing adventures and drink lashings of ginger beer.

But historian Cliff Watkins has unearthed a different side to her which was showcased in a world premiere performance at St George's Church, High Street, Beckenham.

Mr Watkins, from the Beckenham Civic Society, discovered three poems in the pages of a magazine from 1917 with two of them definitely written by Miss Blyton and the other thought to be written by her, but with the byline Maud Dyrenfurth.

To showcase them to a wider audience he commissioned composer Gordon Carr to set three poems, by or about the children’s author, to music.

When they were written the author was 19 and living in Westfield Road, Beckenham.

And they were performed at the world premiere by soprano Marie Vassiliou (pictured) and 12 members of the Lewisham Concert Band.

News Shopper: Singer Marie Vassiliou with Leslie Lake conducting in the background

Ms Vassiliou said: “It was a real pleasure to perform this beautifully lyrical and enchanting piece with the Lewisham Concert Band.

“I thought the orchestration really highlighted the sense of child-like wonder embodied in the text.

“To my mind, I think that Maud was indeed a name stolen by Enid, as the connections between the three poems are very strong indeed.”

Mr Watkins said: “Enid Blyton is a bit of an enigma and I have always been interested in her background and her family.

“She lived in no less than seven houses in Beckenham and she’s an amazing person that Beckenham should be more proud of.”


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