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Alan Titchmarsh's childhood Ladybird Books, complete with his handwritten inscription on the inside cover.
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Ladybird and Me: Alan Titchmarsh

To celebrate our new exhibition What to Look for in the Garden: A Ladybird Books Exhibition, we’re taking a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the joys of discovering Ladybird books as children. First to share his ‘Ladybird and Me’ story is Garden Museum Trustee, Alan Titchmarsh:

“I think my mum must have bought me the first ‘Ladybird book of British Birds’ and it became my bible aged 8 or 10 – the time at which I joined The Wharfedale Naturalists Society.

“The front cover with its stunning image of a Kingfisher is imprinted on my mind (volumes 2 and 3 were bought for me when mum saw how avidly I devoured the first), as is the Ladybird image of a Hawfinch – a real rarity which I discovered in Middleton Woods in Ilkley – injured and sheltering at the foot of a tree. The Ladybird book enabled me to identify a bird I had never seen before – nor since, as it happens!

“I offered it a nibble of my toffee bar but it declined, in spite of its astonishingly powerful beak. I can remember the moment with perfect clarity. I left the bird where it was, hoping that it would eventually recover and fly off. I have always wondered if it did…

“The delightful illustrations and the brevity of the text of the books were perfectly designed to spark the interest of a young naturalist and I am so grateful to have had their company all these years.”

Alan Titchmarsh

Have you got a memory or story about Ladybird Books you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Contact bethany@gardenmuseum.org.uk, and we’ll share our favourite stories on social media.

Find out more about What to Look for the in the Garden: A Ladybird Books Exhibition

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