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, 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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