Toad Hall (The Wind in the Willows)

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Toad Hall
'The Wind in the Willows' location
Wind in the Willows (1913).djvu
The 1913 edition of the novel
Created by Kenneth Grahame
In-universe information
Location The Thames Valley

Toad Hall is the fictional home of Mr. Toad, a character in the 1908 novel The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.



On his retirement from the Bank of England in 1908, Grahame returned to Blewbury in Berkshire, the county in which he grew up. In October that year he published The Wind in the Willows, a novel for children featuring an array of anthropomorphic characters, including Rat (a water vole), Mole, Badger and Toad. [1] Toad lives in a house on the edge of the River Bank, Toad Hall. The novel was almost universally condemned by critics, but achieved very considerable sales. [2] It has been in print continuously since its publication and has been adapted for plays, a ballet, [3] films and musicals. [4] Originally published as plain text, it has subsequently been illustrated by a number of notable artists including Paul Bransom, Arthur Rackham and E. H. Shepard. [5]


Grahame's description of Toad Hall is sparse: "a handsome, dignified old house of mellowed red brick, with well-kept lawns reaching down to the water's edge". [6] Its owner is in no doubt as to its merits: "'Finest house on the whole river,' cried Toad boisterously. 'Or anywhere else, for that matter.'" [7] The hall has a "very old banqueting-hall" and a "large boat-house". [6] Stables stand to the right of the house, as viewed from the river. [6] An ancient underground passage, unknown to Toad but vouchsafed to Mr Badger by Toad's father, and of critical importance to the novel's denouement, [8] "leads from the river bank ..., right up into the middle of Toad Hall". [9]


A number of houses have been cited as the inspiration for Toad Hall. These include:


  1. "Kenneth Grahame biography". Pook Press. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  2. Preston, John (10 February 2008). "Kenneth Grahame: Lost in the wild wood". Daily Telegraph.
  3. Motion, Andrew (7 December 2002). "Return to Toad Hall". The Guardian.
  4. Williams, Albert (2 February 1989). "The Wind in the Willows". Chicago Reader.
  5. "Wind in the Willows Books & Illustrators". World Collectors Net. 27 May 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 Grahame 1995, p. 35.
  7. Grahame 1995, p. 36.
  8. "The Wind in the Willows—A Summary". Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  9. Grahame 1995, p. 184.
  10. "High Court fight over 'Toad Hall'". BBC News. 11 July 2011.
  11. "Would the real Toad Hall please stand up". Creation Theatre Company. 23 November 2017.
  12. Channer, Nick (23 February 2013). "Wind in the Willows Centenary". Berks&Bucks Life.
  13. Duncan, Fiona (3 October 2017). "Is this Cornwall's most family-friendly hotel?". Daily Telegraph.
  14. "Foxwarren Park, near Cobham, Surrey". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  15. Nichols, Michelle (10 March 2001), "Is this house the real Toad Hall?", The Scotsman
  16. Davidson, Max (24 October 2015). "Secrets, scandal and Toad of Toad Hall: the properties with stories to tell". Daily Telegraph.
  17. Serck, Linda (15 October 2008). "Who spawned Mr Toad?". BBC Berkshire.


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