At the heart of the retrospective is a large collection of Blyton typescripts and rare artefacts formerly in the private collection of her eldest daughter, Gillian Baverstock, who died in 2007.
These will be of little interest to those small and lucky enough to be reading Blyton for the first time. Instead, young visitors are invited to open a wooden desk in a mock Mallory Towers classroom and find a whoopee cushion; climb into the Secret Seven club house or sit in Noddy’s car. Many will finally discover what a lacrosse stick looks like.
But grown-up visitors will be intrigued to see how little editing Blyton’s manuscripts needed. She would cross out the odd word, insert an adjective here and there, but what was published was more or less what she battered out with two frantic fingers on the typewriter, also on display in Newcastle.
Seven Stories is expecting the retrospective to be its most popular since it opened in 2005, surpassing its Gruffalo exhibition which closed at Easter. Just another feather in Blyton’s cap.