Agatha Christie Connection
The International Agatha Christie Festival
The 2015 festival was a huge success, and we can’t wait for next years festival 14th – 18th September. Details to be confirmed.
The Agatha Christie Connection
The English Riviera has a strong connection with Agatha Christie. She was born in Torquay in 1890. She meet Archie Christie, a qualified aviator in 1912, and we are very proud that Agatha Christie chose to spend her honeymoon at the Grand Hotel, after Archie proposed at Torquay’s Pavilion in 1914. For more facts on Agatha Christie and her life please visit www.agathachristie.com
Agatha Christie wrote over 80 books in her lifetime, and many of her books were heavily influenced by the English Riviera. You can find out which books were inspired by the English Riviera on the Agatha Christie literary trail, which starts at the Grand Hotel. On the trail you’ll come across places that inspired the settings of some of the most well-loved Miss Marple and Poirot mysteries
Agatha’s Honeymoon at the Grand Hotel on Christmas Eve 1914
In 1913 Agatha met Archie Christie, a Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery at a ball held at Ugbrooke House, following a Wagner Concert at the Pavilion Torquay. Archie proposed marriage which Agatha’s mother, Gloria Miller, vetoed on grounds that Archie’s pay was insufficient to support Agatha and that she already had ‘an understanding’ an unofficial engagement, to Reggie Loosey ,a close friend and army major.
With the outbreak of war in 1914 Archie transferred to The Royal Flyers corps while Agatha became a NAD nurse at the temporary military hospital in Torquay Town Hall. Three days before Christmas 1914 Archie came home on leave from The Western Front and took her to his family home in Clifton Bristol to meet his mother and stepfather. On the way he again proposed marriage but both had reservations about the risks of getting married in time of war when the future, life and death were so much in the balance. However they eventually agreed to go ahead, Archie on the pretence of being a permanent resident of Clifton paid £8.00 for a licence enabling them to marry immediately without resorting to the normal reading of banns in church.
Finding a Church with an organist and a vicar prepared to marry them, and a passing friend who agreed to act as a witness. They were married in their everyday clothes with no family members present, on Christmas Eve, 1914. Archie then rang The Grand Hotel Torquay and managed to book a room, while Agatha rang her older sister, Madge with the news of the event. Joining a crowded train from Bristol they arrived after an horrendous journey at midnight Christmas Eve, to book into the Grand hotel. This was to be their honeymoon, as after breakfast on Christmas Day they went to Agatha’s home, Ashfield, in Barton Road Torquay. Mrs Mille was very upset when she heard that her daughter was no longer Miss Miller, but Mrs Christie. Fortunately Madge had calmed her down but Madge did upbraid Agatha for causing her Mother so much distress by springing the marriage on her so suddenly.
Christmas day passed fairly pleasantly at Ashfield and the following day Boxing day, Agatha accompanied Archie on the train to Paddington for return to active service in France. It was to be 6 months before she would see him again and 4 years before they settled down to normal married life.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Greenway house and gardens is owned by the National Trust. You can visit the house which is set in the 1950′s. Agatha and her family would spend holidays here with friends relaxing and reading her latest mystery to their guests. The family were great collectors, and the house is filled with archaeology, Tunbridge Ware, silver, botanical china and books.
The house has beautiful gardens and a romantic woodland which winds down to the Dart estuary and the Boathouse, the scene of the crime in Dead Man’s Folly, and the battery complete with cannon, which shouldn’t be missed! You can visit the Greenway by ferry, vintage 1950’s bus and steam train. Please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway for more information on travel and booking parking at peak times
Agatha Christie Mile
Retrace the steps of the world’s best-selling author along Torquay’s seafront. Starting at the Grand Hotel, the Agatha Christie Mile takes you to some of the places that were inspirational in her life and works, with seven unique plaques to find along the way. Find out the places to look out for on the Agatha Christie Mile
Visit the Grand Hotel Torquay
Why not relive the magic and visit the sites that inspired Agatha Christie, you could even stay in the Agatha Christie Suite at the Grand Hotel, or indulge in an afternoon tea in our lounge looking at over the bay.
Call 0800 005 2244 for more information or to book
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