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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Time No Longer
It's always been quite hard to get a good look at the Mill House in Great Shelford, where Philippa Pearce lived as a child and which served as the model for the house in Tom's Midnight Garden. Luckily it came on the market not so long ago (asking price £3.5million), and the estate agent put up a some nice pics...

Mill House Great Shelford

Mill House Great Shelford gardens2

Mill House Great Shelford gardens

Mill House Great Shelford back view

Oh, especially the second picture is exactly the illustrations come to life! But the last picture, too - are they the yews? I can only remember the name of Tricksy, but there was one which was like the right-hand-side tree, easy to climb. Thanks for posting these!
(I don't have words to say how wonderful the book is. 'Beautiful' and 'haunting' and 'moving' will have to do.)

"...Hatty began to tell Tom about the yew-trees round the lawn. The one he had climbed and waved from was called the Matterhorn. Another tree was called the Look-out, and another the Steps of St Paul's. One tree was called Tricksy, because of the difficulty of climbing it: its main trunk was quite bare for some way up from the ground and could only be swarmed."

I'm wondering if the tree on the right could be the Steps of St Paul's, which is where they built the tree-house... Those low branches could be the steps. This pic shows the Matterhorn, which is evidently on the left towards the house.

It's a delight to see the house and garden, intact and with no new houses or car spaces covering it.

Edited at 2015-11-03 12:23 am (UTC)

Yes! The Steps of St Paul's - I bet it is! :)
It was only after I posted that I realised that the cutting up of the house into flats, and the tiny yard with bins - that was the fiction. It's odd and disconcerting and a joy to find it all "back" as it was in Hattie's childhood.

At the time Pearce wrote the book, the house was indeed under threat of being turned into flats, and she set her book in a (very slight) future where that had actually happened. As it turned out, she needn't have worried - or, I suppose, written. But I'm very glad she did.

Edited at 2015-11-03 07:44 am (UTC)

Those changes (the flats) were my way into the house, because my BFF when I read it (as a child) lived in a carved-up big house. The gardens were intact (they are no longer, alas) which meant my child-self had a bit of the midnight world and a bit o the day world whenever she visited her friend. We did a bunch of book-related stuff using the gardens and the stable. It was a wonderful place! Although these days we disagree on how many sharp points our secret club's secret emblem had!