Thursday, 28 August 2008

Memories of Abney

As well as featuring in After the Funeral, Abney Hall also provided the inspiration for the title story in Agatha Christie’s collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, published in book form in 1960. In her introduction, Christie explained that the story:

‘is an indulgence of my own, since it recalls to me, very pleasurably, the Christmases of my youth. After my father’s death, my mother and I always spent Christmas with my brother-in-law’s family in the north of England – and what superb Christmases they were for a child to remember! Abney Hall had everything! The garden boasted a waterfall, a stream and a tunnel under the drive!’ She dedicates the book ‘to the memory of Abney Hall, its kindness and its hospitality’.

I’m not sure what Christie would make of the modern Abney Park, but thank goodness the house has not been razed to the ground. Christie wasn’t an excessively sentimental woman, and I think that she would take the view that, although the local authority could do a bit more to keep the gardens in good shape, the essential character of the grounds has not been lost. The waterfall is still there, and it is definitely impressive. And there is, in a shady and muddy corner, a dog cemetery – with heavily weathered stones recalling some of the dogs whom Christie must have known.


Michael Walters said...

Fascinating, Martin - I was unaware of the Christie connection with Abney Hall, even though I once lived in Cheadle Hulme and still live close by. I must give it another visit. I suppose it's a shame that the Hall has been given over to commercial concerns, but at least it's been preserved unlike, for example, the Isherwoods' nearby Marple Hall.

Amanda said...

hello, i know this is an old post, But i'm luckily to be on the doorstep of Abney Hall.

I have fond childhood memories of the park (although im only 25), and i'm often there taking a stroll. After i had my son we'd relax there.

It doesn't matter how bad the weather is its a great place to be.

I used to revise there, just where the animal graves are. It always seems so peaceful. Its a shame nobody is using the hall, if i had the wealth i'd snap it up.

It would make a great wedding venue. When i was small i went to an open day there and was a little depressed with how the hall was being used (offices at the time). Someone needs to restore it !

Manda @ I have lots of photo's of the park on my facebook page :

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for commenting, Amanda. As you say, it's a delightful place with a great deal of potential in the right hands.