Margery Allingham former family home (20th May 1904 to 30th June 1966)

 

The quartet of novelists making up the golden age of detective novels comprised Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham. The last one wrote eighteen of the immensely popular Campion novels (since televised) and here I am at her former family home in London.

 

Itís no surprise she became a writer as both parents wrote for a living and drenched their three children in literature. Margery was born in London where she witnessed her dad writing highly successful pulp fiction novels (he wrote the Sexton Blake stories.) Aged just eight she sold her first story to a magazine for cash. By sixteen she was in college studying drama and wrote a play which was performed in two theatres. She met her future husband, too.

 

Aged 19 she had her first novel published and continued on against low sales. Aged 23 she married and the couple (who wouldn't have children) moved to a large house near the Essex marshes. Aged 25 she invented the famous Albert Campion character (an mysterious upper-class adventurous detective) and the novels flowed from her. He would appear in a raft of short stories and another 17 novels. She wrote scores of standalone novels and short stories which were an outlet for her imagination. Her other famous book was The Tiger In The Smoke which was made into a film. Despite huge success she succumbed to breast cancer, dying in hospital aged 62. She now lies in a churchyard near her home.

 

Passing the former family home in Paddington in London it was evident the Allingham's must have been affluent. Home was "Hurlington House" which would now sell for many millions of pounds but it's been butchered into flats. It sits at the end of handsome tree-lined street made up from capacious terraced houses. The street was quiet until I reached the end which gives way to an unsightly noisy flyover. A passing cyclist dropped a packet of Airwaves chewing gum. "Your chewy!" I hollered but he said, "In a rush" and sped on. I needed my mouth freshening up so I opened the untouched of the packet end and had a couple.

 

I was glad I'd visited the house. I've seen the Campion television series; it's entertaining but doesn't surpass by Inspector Morse and A Touch Of Frost. Are there any other famous Margery's; I can't think of any. I did a salute and left.

Margery is buried near her home in Tolleshunt D'Arcy - a small village better known for the White House Murders where Jeremy Bamber slaughtered five family members to inherit the family business. Her country home also bears a blue plaque and it's on my ever-growing list of places to visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margey's home in Essex...

 

The famous Campion...

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