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Places

Daphne had a great affinity with ‘place’ – and she incorporated many of the places that she found inspiring into her work. These pages give brief details about the places Daphne lived and wrote in. Of these, the most important are the three houses near Fowey, Ferryside, Menabilly and Kilmarth. Given that these were the houses she most loved it is strange that she never owned any of them. In fact Daphne and Boy never owned a house of their own.

Many of the places she lived up to the age of 35 were dictated by the nomadic nature of army life and the random dislocations of the second world war. Once she returned to Fowey in 1942, she would never leave again.

Cornwall, and Fowey in particular, was the setting for many of her novels and stories. A number of other places she had visited, usually on holiday, fired her imagination. Her French roots were also an influence. Having spent a year in Paris when she was young she always loved the City and the home of her ancestors in Sarthe provided a backdrop for two of her books. Information and pictures of the locations in Daphne’s work is included in the dedicated pages – though I have not been able to visit them all.

Cannon Hall Cottage, Hampstead

Following Daphne’s marriage in 1932 she was given one of a pair of cottages at the foot of the Cannon Hall Garden as a wedding present. A plaque commemorating Daphne’s occupation can be found on the garden wall in Well Road. Here Daphne adjusted to married life with the assistance of Mrs Richards – wife …

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Cannon Hall, Hampstead

In 1916, Gerald du Maurier purchased Cannon Hall, 14 Cannon Place – and it was here that Daphne grew up. The house is a substantial red brick building dating from approximately 1720. The name derived from the use of cannon as street bollards outside the front gates. These were apparently introduced by Sir James Melville, …

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Cumberland Terrace, Regents Park

In March 1907, having enjoyed his first big success in Raffles, Gerald du Maurier took a house (number 24)  in Cumberland Terrace at the considerable cost of £150 per annum. On May 13th, Daphne was born there. This fine building, designed by John Nash, was commissioned by the Prince Regent (later George lV) and completed …

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Ferryside, Bodinnick

Ferryside (formerly Swiss Cottage) was bought by Daphne’s parents as a holiday home in 1926. There is a full description of how this came about in Vanishing Cornwall and in many other books. Daphne stayed there in the winter of 1929/30 to write her first novel The Loving Spirit and most of The Progress of …

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Old Rectory, Frimley

Boy was appointed second in command of the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards early in 1934 and this necessitated a move to Frimley in Surrey. They rented the Old Rectory in Frimley – a very attractive Queen Anne house and now a listed building. According to Margaret Forster, Daphne liked the house and it …

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Greyfriars, Church Crookham

Greyfriars, Church Crookham was a house near Fleet in Surrey that Boy and Daphne rented on their return from Alexandria in early 1938. They lived there until they moved to Hythe in September 1939. The house belonged to Sir John Whitaker, commander of the 3rd battalion, Coldstream Guards, who had relieved Boy’s 2nd battalion, Grenadier …

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Hay House, Hythe

Daphne and Boy lived in Hythe, Kent briefly in 1939-40. Boy was posted to the Small Arms School in the town as Assistant Commandant – but they were given the Commandant’s House on Sir John Moore Avenue, which still survives although it looks rather run down these days. Today the building is divided into flats …

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Hill End, Preston, Herts

Hill End – or Langley End as it is now known, is a house in a village called Preston in Hertfordshire. It was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and built in 1910/11. Daphne lived there from June-October 1940 and then from Jan 1941 to April 1942 as a ‘paying guest’ of Christopher and Paddy Puxley. …

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Clouds Hill, Offley

Daphne lived at Clouds Hill from October 1940 to January 1941 – not very long – but an important event took place during those three months – the birth of her son Christian (Kits). The house is only a few miles from Hill End. The house was originally the Offley Vicarage, though it is some …

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Readymoney, Fowey

After deciding it was time to leave Hill End, Daphne returned to Fowey in April 1942. She rented a cottage at Readymoney Cove, a modest chalet type building that had originally been the stables for Point Neptune – a mansion originally built for the Rashleigh family (of Menabilly) – now owned by the comic actress …

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