Roald Dahl Day: Five places to go to find out more about one of our favourite authors

By Culture24 Reporter | 13 September 2012
A photo of a large brown hut with a bright yellow door inside a central museum space
Chocolate is the order of the day at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
If you were tempted by Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, liked the look of the Giant Peach, were dazzled by Fantastic Mr Fox or simply found yourself disgusted by The Witches, September 13 is the day to rifle through your bookshelf and raise a toast to one of the greatest storytellers of all time.

In honour of what would have been Roald Dahl's birthday, we've taken a look at five places which can tell us more about the story of the man responsible for Big Friendly Giants and Champions of the World...

A photo of an old brown armchair with a pair of spectacles and paper on top of it
Dahl's former armchair
Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Cardiff Bay

Roald Dahl was born to Norwegian parents in Cardiff in 1916, and was christened (as were his sisters) at the Norwegian Church in its original home of Cardiff Docks.

The little derelict white building was saved by a Preservation Trust in 1987, with Dahl appointed its first President. He never saw the reconstruction, but he’d enjoy the party held there every September in his memory.

The National Portrait Gallery, London

From 1976, just after Danny, The Champion of the World was published, to a working portrait in his study a year before his death in 1990, the National Portrait Gallery holds four diverse and revealing shots of Dahl.

He looks every inch the smart literary gent in a modern bromide print of a black and white Dmitiri Kasterine photo, and a resin print, taken by Stephen Hyde 30 years ago, shows him reclining in an autumn garden.

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Great Missenden

A photo of a large white house with a grey slate roof and a white door in the country
Dahl's epicentre of writing was at Gipsy House in Buckinghamshire© Roald Dahl Nominee Limited
Roald Dahl spent 36 years dreaming up his wonderful stories in the Buckinghamshire village of Great Missenden, and the Museum and Story Centre which was dedicated to him in 2005 is an obvious pilgrimage point for any Dahl fan.

It’s even more enchanting now that the contents and furnishings of Dahl’s writing hut, which were beginning to decay in his former garden at Gipsy House, have been transported there, meticulously retaining the original look of the den Dahl called his “little nest”. Felicity Dahl says it was her late husband’s “cherished little workplace”.

, Aylesbury

A photo of a series of small wooden writing implements on top of a writing table
Writing implements used by the man
Occasionally confused with the Buckinghamshire Story Centre, this is a beguiling complex of Dahl wonders – among the highlights, there’s a giant pipe organ manned by the BFG, inventions courtesy of Willy Wonka, an enormous book in Matilda’s Library and a tunnel awaiting Fantastic Mr Fox, not to mention a Great Glass Elevator ready to whizz you to an Imagination Gallery.

Did you know that Dahl always wrote in pencil on yellow paper, was particular about his chocolate and was a Hurricane fighter pilot during World War II?

Find out ten facts about the author from the gallery.

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

It’s hard to visualise Roald Dahl’s books without imagining Quentin Blake’s fanciful illustrations which adorned them so vibrantly.

Blake trained at the Chelsea School of Art and was appointed the first British Children’s Laureate in 1999. The Laing’s current exhibition, As Large as Life, showcases his illustrations for hospitals looking after the young.
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