Roald Dahl’s blue plaque unveiled in Weston

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:56 22 March 2018

Representatives from the town council, civic society, and Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group.

Representatives from the town council, civic society, and Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group.

Archant

A blue plaque dedicated to famous children’s author Roald Dahl was unveiled on Monday.

Roald Dahl's blue plaque.Roald Dahl's blue plaque.

Mr Dahl lived in Weston-super-Mare for four short years, while a child at St Peter’s School, but his time in the town certainly left an impact on him and his future works.

The plaque, organised by Weston Town Council with sponsorship from Weston Civic Society, is the third in a series to be installed around town.

It follows one dedicated to Olympian Paulo Radmilovic and another to mayor Henry Butt, following a public vote in the Mercury.

Mr Dahl became a boarder in Weston in 1925, and he thought the school, on the hillside, was ‘like a private lunatic asylum’.

Roald Dahl. (Picture: Roald Dahl estate)Roald Dahl. (Picture: Roald Dahl estate)

He did not have the happiest time at St Peter’s, and later dubbed Weston as a ‘slightly seedy seaside resort’.

Councillor John Crockford-Hawley, chairman of the museum working party, said: “In terms of selling Weston, he was not very good for that, but so much of his work is based on the four years he spent here.

“So Weston had an effect on him, and he is affecting Weston.”

Mr Dahl’s imagination was running wild from the start of his time at St Peter’s, as he feigned appendicitis so he could return to his home in Wales for a short time.

His letters home refer to sledging in Ashcombe Park on four inches of snow, and watching Glamorgan beat Weston in a football game 21-0.

His descriptions of school life in his autobiographical work Boy refer to the ‘giant’ headmaster and ‘female ogre’ matron, and it could be argued those adults inspired characters in his children’s books, including the fearsome headteacher Miss Trunchbull in Matilda.

St Peter’s School closed in 1970 and was demolished.

Today the site is covered with houses in St Peter’s Avenue and St Matthew’s Close.

Representatives from the town council, civic society, and Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group.Representatives from the town council, civic society, and Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group.

The plaque has been installed on the corner of St Peter’s Avenue and Shrubbery Avenue.

Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: “There is a difficulty in putting a plaque in the right place as nothing of the school remains.

“It is very kind of the neighbours to allow us to put the plaque on the wall as close as we could get it to the school site.”

The next plaques will go to psychiatrist Dr Edward Long Fox and suffragette Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence.

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