Campaign To Save Roald Dahl Shed

According to the Roald Dahl Museum

A fundraising campaign is underway to save and share the magical hut in which Roald Dahl wrote all of his unforgettable stories including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach.

The hut was built in Roald Dahl’s garden at Gipsy House in the late 1950s. It was constructed with a single layer of bricks insulated with polystyrene and was never intended to last. It’s now in a very fragile state and there’s a strong chance that the structure won’t survive another winter to shelter its precious contents which range from Roald Dahl’s famous chair, to his eclectic collection of objects, including his own hip bone!

We need to raise £500,000 to carry out the first phase of this exciting and important project, which involves acquiring, conserving and displaying the interior of the iconic Writing Hut and its contents. The good news is we are already well on our way, with £250,000 already raised! The second phase, for which we need an additional £500,000, will enable us to make exciting changes to our education spaces and to develop inspirational resources for use both on-site and through our expanding work going out to schools, hospitals and the wider community.

Dahl – who would have been 95 today – would sit in the hut, located in the garden of his home, Gipsy House in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, alone to write. Only he was allowed in and he visited the property every day for 30 years.

roald dahl shed

Even now the building in which Dahl sat surrounded by knick-knacks has been a private place and visited only by friends, family and visitors to his home.

Now his family is behind a plan to transfer the hut early next year to the nearby Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.

The author’s granddaughter, broadcaster and writer Sophie Dahl, is helping to launch the fundraising campaign.

She said: “When my grandfather died, he left in his wake an aching gap, but also a palpable magic and limitless imagination, which is not exclusive to my family. It is now time for us to save the hut but, even more importantly, to shareit.”

Alex of shedworking (as Dahl was one of the original shedworkers) has more info on the potential controversy and will be following the debate at his great blog.


1. Roald was inspired to build the hut after a visit to Dylan Thomas’ writing
at Laugharne.

2. The hut was constructed by Wally Saunders – a local builder and snooker
buddy of Roald’s, who would later be immortalised by the author as the

3. Roald wrote in a very routine way. “I’m in here between 10 and 12.30
each day,” he recalled, “then break for lunch which is always the same:
Norwegian prawns and half a lettuce and I finish with a Kit Kat.
Afterwards I have a rest before coming back here from 4.00 to 6.00.”

4. Once inside the hut, Roald had several rituals before he began to write. He
placed a roll of corrugated paper – held fast by Sellotape – across his
knees and placed on top of this a wooden board, which he had covered in
green baize and carved to fit around his waist. Then he sharpened six
Dixon Triconderoga pencils and reached for a lined yellow legal pad.

5. The chair Roald sat in had previously belonged to his mother. Roald cut a
panel out of it to accommodate his wartime back injury.

6. His foot-rest was a battered old school trunk, filled with logs and
hammered to the floor at the perfect distance from his chair.

7. The table at the author’s side was home to an extraordinary collection of
objects which give an insight into the things that mattered to him. These
range from a ‘billiard ball’ formed of Dairy Milk bar wrappers through his
own hip bone to a small model of a Hurricane fighter plane and a glass
bottle containing the tiny medical valve that Roald himself co-invented.

8. Although his wife, children and grandchildren knew better than to disturb
him when the yellow door was closed, Roald was connected to the main
house by telephone.

9. The heifers in the orchard could occasionally be found nibbling at the
plastic curtain.

10. The hut is now approached through a canopy of lime trees. Roald would
pause to pleach their branches on his ‘morning commute’ from the house
to the hut

For further information on the fundraising campaign and/or to
make a donation, please e-mail Amelia Foster, the museum’s
director, at [email protected]

By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear