Is £500,000 worth it for Dahl’s hut?

Picture of Roald Dahl's hut surrounded by treesA shrine for Saint Roald and Saint Rowling (from today’s Guardian)

Roald Dahl’s family is seeking £500,000 (US $790,300 at current rates) to transfer the hut in which the late author wrote some of his famous children’s novels to the grounds of the Roald Dahl Museum, which has a page dedicated to the appeal here. The family claim that the hut is in a state of “accelerating decay” and might not survive the winter; another report says that nobody in the family has been into the structure in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, for some time. There is some difference over where the money is expected to come from, with much expected to come from “trusts and foundations” but it has also been suggested that a public contribution will be requested.

Roald Dahl’s novels were some of my favourites as a child, and I read all of them up as far as Matilda. I never read Esio Trot or The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me but I read all the earlier ones. I remember reading of his death in 1990 when away at boarding school, and saw it tucked away in a broadsheet newspaper (the Telegraph I think) and recall noticing the distinct lack of any discussion of the event. Still, I cannot justify spending public money on maintaining the hut at a time like the one we are in, and question whether any charity money being spent on it could not be better spent on something else, like providing books for children. The Dahl family clearly did not think it was so valuable until now, when they saw an opportunity to raise publicity and money and attract people to their museum. They should really have acted years ago, rather than letting it sink into ruin by not touching it for more than twenty years after Dahl died.

Image source: Shedworking.

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