Museum Profile – Seven Stories

Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, is a registered charity and accredited museum in Newcastle Upon Tyne dedicated to celebrating and protecting Britain’s literary heritage. It shares how children and young people’s books have developed over time and highlights their impact on readers and communities.

The Seven Stories Collection includes work from some of the best-selling and influential authors and illustrators of the last 100 years including Enid Blyton, Elizabeth Beresford, Dianne Wynne Jones, Philip Pullman, Nick Sharratt, Kaye Webb, and Judith Kerr.

Seven Stories is also an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation. The Collection and Archive is housed at City Library in Newcastle and can be visited by appointment.

Collection highlights include books from Kaye Webb’s working library, as well as a large quantity of letters and other papers which document Kaye’s career; original handwritten drafts of some of Morpurgo’s best loved books; draft material for fourteen of Phillip Pullman’s published books, including manuscripts for his highly-acclaimed Sally Lockhart quartet; 70 years of Judith Kerr’s work including childhood paintings, drawings from her student days, and finished artwork for most of her published books, including The Tiger Who Came to Tea; and Enid Blyton’s typewriter on which she wrote over 400 books!

The Visitor Centre is open six days a week in term time, and seven days a week in school holidays (10am – 5pm). Paid-for events and workshops run throughout the week for all ages, including ‘Bookworm Babies,’ which introduces a love of reading at an early age; interactive performances from the Story Catcher team for ages 0-12; book themed breakfasts and tea parties, and guest author and illustrator workshops for all ages.

A specialist children’s bookshop is at the heart of the museum, which also houses a coffee shop and the Riverside Café on level 2, which features relaxing views of Ouseburn canal.

There are currently three floors of free-entry galleries:

  • Where Stories Comes From. A permanent exhibition exploring the theory that all stories fit into seven basic plot themes. This gallery includes manuscripts and artwork from Tony Ross, Julia Donaldson, Judith Kerr, and Enid Blyton.
  • Wildwoods Gallery. An exciting gallery exploring some of the world’s most famous fictional magical worlds including Narnia, Harry Potter and DiscWorld, through original artwork, manuscripts, and other glimpses into the making of the stories.
  • Shifter of Shapes: Celebrating Nature. Celebrating nature writing and artwork from acclaimed book The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris, with new artwork additions from North East artist and writer Abbey Scott, inspired by the woods of Northumberland.

The museum sees over 100,000 visitors per year and hundreds of pupils on school visits facilitated by the Collections and Story Catcher teams. Schools are also engaged through a book subscription scheme, Hooks into Books, which refreshes the classroom or library book collection each term, and through free online events with authors and illustrators. This year they have already hosted sessions with Axel Scheffler, Michael Morpurgo and Michael Rosen.

Click here to visit the Seven Stories website>>