Anyone who has read stories by Enid Blyton will know that she was a big fan of Boarding Schools. A number of her series were based in such schools and those that weren’t were often referenced them at some point in the story.
The Boarding schools described are very different to the Gloucester student accommodation that can be found now-a-days (examples can be found at http://studentaccommodationgloucester.co.uk/). Let’s take a look at one of her beloved series:
The first few stories in this series are written by Enid herself and it is understood that the school Malory Towers is based on the boarding school that her own daughter attended – Benenden School, and the main character named after her husband’s middle name (Darrell). Pamela Cox picked up the series and added an additional six books from 2009 onwards.
The story follows the life and education of Darrell Rivers. Darrell undertakes her schooling at Malory Towers in Cornwall.
Malory Towers is a Castle which by any standard is pretty cool. It has 4 towers for each of the houses. One of it’s best features is the swimming pool. It’s fed by the sea and while it’s chilly it saves a lot for the school with costly pool cleaning. At Malory towers they play the standard kind of games you would expect an All girls school to play. Apart from Netball and Tennis, their very big on Tennis and Darrell is pretty good. They really excel at Lacrosse. This is a vicious game involving large sticks with nets on the end and rather complicated rules that seem to think that knocking people over is ok. The girls on the side lines enjoy this immensely and cheer the Malory Towers players on by exhorting them to “play up!” They are also well in with the Horsey set and have stables if they want to bring in their own horse.
While the Girls are uniformly posh the teachers are certainly varied. Miss Potts is the very strict head of first form and North Tower who puts the fear of everything into Darrell at the start, but it soon becomes clear that she is also very fair. The Headmistress, Miss Graying (none of them seem to be married), has a whole Dumbledore/Gandalf sort of vibe going on as she dispenses wisdom and punishments in equal measure. Is kind but also firm. You really don’t want to cross or disappoint her. The comic relief comes from the 2 French mistress Madame Dupont being the main jolly one.
It’s a fun series which thankfully has had all the references to spanking changed to scolding.