The Little Red Hen in Hambledon
A couple of weeks ago a journalist called Steve Clark got in touch. He was thinking about writing an article about the real scenes captured in Ladybird Books. Previously he had written a Ladybird-themed blog-post, which I had shared on Twitter. In Steve’s blog post he had put side by side two pictures – one a photo of a village local to him which had been used as a basis to the front cover of the 1960s book ‘The Little Red Hen’ and the other the picture from the book itself – a book beautifully illustrated by Robert Lumley.
The post attracted quite a lot of attention, as things often do that remind people of this much-loved series of children’s books. He wanted to turn it into an article for a Sunday paper – possibly the Mail on Sunday. Now this is a topic that has interested me for a while. I’ve been planning to write something on the topic and have been collecting pictures for this purpose for a while so I told him this. However, in the spirit of Ladybird Land I agreed to help him with it and shared some of my information.
The story, due out 2 weeks ago, never appeared, he didn’t contact me again and I assume that Steve changed his mind or, more likely perhaps, an editor was less enamored with the idea than either of us.
So now I shall share some of the scenes I have accumulated so far – mainly thanks to research and heavy use of Google Street view – but also thanks to contributions from some kind folk out there.
But I’d love to collect some more. If you can place any well-known Ladybird scenes, I’d really appreciate your help.
1) John Berry’s Police Station from the 1962 version of ‘People at Work – The Policeman’ and Brixton Police Station today
The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel – adorned with cuddly Morris Traveller – from Robert Ayton’s 1964 illustrations in ‘Churches and Cathedrals’
and today – now Bridport Arts Centre.
(Thanks to Gary Grant @ecoschemes)
3)Now on to London (John Berry again, 1961)
First we have The Royal Exchange in 1961:
(Apparently the flashy car in the foreground was John Berry’s own – he squeezed a cameo of it into a few of his pictures)
And from Google: (very grateful to the bus for lining up so precisely).
And today … (ish)
Tower Bridge hasn’t changed much of course, but the view behind it has.
Some scenes have barely changed, of course:
The British Museum may have been completely revamped in some areas but others look much the same …
I can’t get quite the right picture of Piccadilly Circus – and not by night – but you get the idea.
London Zoo no longer seems to keep sea lions so the nearest I can get is the Penguin Pool
Though in my research I found the newspaper image that Berry seems to have based his painting on:
As for Heathrow, … (back in 1961 in was ‘London Airport’)
And today …
4) But my favourite finds are still from fiction – there’s an added buzz when a photograph hints that perhaps your five-year-old self wasn’t wrong: perhaps after all it’s all really really real and the ungrateful little gingerbread boy one day just might run past you …
And of course, let’s not forget The Little Red Hen, walking down the road in Hambledon, Buckinghamshire.