Born on 8th of March 1859
Died on 6th of July 1932
Quotes from Kenneth Grahame
'The best part of a holiday is '... More
It is ironic that one of the most ‘English’ of children’s books, Wind in the Willows, should have been written by a Scot, though Edinburgh-born Kenneth Grahame lived from the age of five in England. He was taken in by his grandmother, his father having taken to drink when Grahame’s mother died.
A gifted scholar at St Edward’s School in Oxford, Grahame was denied a University place in the same city because of financial concerns – not surprising then that he was pushed into a career where finance would be assured and his work – he became a clerk at The Bank of England. Grahame rose to be Secretary of that august institution, retiring early in 1908, the same year as Wind in the Willows was published, ill-health cited as the reason, possibly resulting from his reaction to a bizarre event when an intruder shot at him in the bank in 1903.
Grahame wrote short stories for periodicals, and published collections of them, throughout his adult life, but it is for one classic children’s story that he will be remembered. The idea of ‘messing about in boats’ touches the British soul in some basic way, and the adventures of timid mole, gallant ratty, and above all the swaggering Mr Toad appeal to young minds today as they did before WWI.
Some claim other places inspired the book’s setting, but it is hard to believe that with the Thames a stroll from his childhood home at Cookham, and having chosen to retire at nearby Pangbourne again in easy reach of the great river, that ‘The River’ could be anywhere else but The Thames.
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