Tabley House , Tabley Lane, off Northwich Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 0HB

This is a keynote presentation about Alison Uttley, a grande dame of British literature and an extraordinary and complex woman, given by Sheila Griffiths of the Alison Uttley Society and The University of Manchester

Alison Uttley was a scientist and author; a woman of contrasts and surprises. Born on a hill farm in Derbyshire at the end of the 19th century, she lived briefly in the Old Vicarage in Knutsford. In 1906 Uttley became the second woman ever to graduate from The University of Manchester, with an honours degree in Physics. Due to the enduring appeal of ‘The Little Grey Rabbit’ series and ‘Sam Pig’ in particular, she is probably best known as the author of children’s books but there is much more to her life and work.

Alison Uttley was a significant literary figure who wrote novels and essays on a wide range of subjects, even a book of recipes. Following the death by suicide of her husband, she turned to writing to earn a living to support herself and her young son. She was a woman of contrasts; practical and scientific yet a believer in fairies, time travel and people moving between different worlds. Her novel ‘A Traveller in Time’ provided the creative inspiration for ‘from Station to Station’, the play about Alison Uttley and Elizabeth Gaskell specially commissioned by Knutsford Promenades that is being performed during HODs.

Uttley is herself the subject of a fascinating biography by Professor Denis Judd, based on the remarkable diaries she kept from the 1930s to the 1970s which are preserved as part of the Alison Uttley archive at John Ryland’s library in Manchester.

Tabley House and the wonderful Tabley Collection is owned and managed by The University of Manchester.

Opening Times

Thursday 6 September: Talk 1845

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Required
Booking Contact: Anna Bates-Patel
Booking opens: 1 August 2018 10:00
Booking closes: 3 September 2018 12:00


The house is accessible for those with mobility problems or wheelchair users. Please phone 01565 750151 beforehand if this facility is needed, as a separate entrance is used. For those using the usual entrance, please note there are some uneven surfaces and steps.

Additional Information

The talk will last for an hour. The Tabley House Collection is housed in the finest Palladian mansion in Cheshire. It is a Grade I site. The estate was home to the Leicester family for 700 years, until the mid-1970s. Their legacy includes some of the finest art, furniture and books that money could buy, as well as a fascinating family history. A linked event, The Alison Uttley Collection Encounter, is being held at John Ryland’s Library when visitors will be able to see highlights from the Alison Uttley archive – see / for full details. Contact for the day: Anna Bates-Patel
Twitter @KnutsfordProms


Once through the entrance to Tabley House, follow the signs for Tabley House Collection.

Organised by

Knutsford Promenades