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Home / Latest News / Roald Dahl’s birthplace goes on the market for a sweet £1.4m

Roald Dahl’s birthplace goes on the market for a sweet £1.4m

Built  in the arts and crafts style of the early 20th century, its idyllic landscaped setting formed the backdrop to the birth of one of the world’s greatest storytellers.

And now the house where children’s author Roald Dahl was born has gone on the market for £1.45m.

Dahl’s Norweigian father Harald had the house Villa Marie – now Ty Gwyn – built to his exact specifications before moving into the property in Llandaff, Cardiff, with wife Sofie.

On September 13, 1916, she gave birth to the writer who would go on to pen classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox in a first-floor bedroom of the house, which is set in half an acre.

Chairman of the Llandaff Society Geoffrey Barton-Greenwood said Dahl’s experiences in Llandaff were among the  pivotal influences shaping the imagination that would sell more than 100 million books.

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He said: “His vivid imagination was sparked by his experiences living in Llandaff and Radyr (the family later moved there).

“Also by his summer holidays spent in Norway where he got infused by the folklore of that country, with the world of trolls and so forth.”

Mr Barton-Greenwood believes the five-bedroom two-storey home should bear a plaque commemorating its connections to the writer.

He said: “I certainly think there’s a case for a blue plaque on the house itself (reading) ‘Birthplace of world’s best storyteller Roald Dahl’.

“I’d like to see that happen in due course.”

The property, which is being sold by Cardiff estate agents Michael Graham Young, is set in secluded grounds with an enclosed courtyard.

Surviving original features include double oak front doors and a traditional three turn staircase leading to a galleried landing.

The dining room includes a bay window with an original oak carved beam made by Dahl’s father.

Spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Wales Tony Filice said while the historic connection will make an interesting dinner party discussion point for any new owners it will not sell the property.

Mr Filice, a director of Cardiff estate agents Kelvin Francis, said: “There’s no question that it’s a unique selling point, but it’s not going to be a deal maker. It doesn’t enhance the value for that sole reason.”

The family left Ty Gwyn for Ty Mynydd, an imposing country mansion in Radyr (now demolished), two years after Dahl’s birth.

But Sofie abandoned the gentrified home after being hit by a double tragedy when first Dahl’s seven-year-old sister Astri died from appendicitis and his broken-hearted father passed away just weeks later.

She moved to Cumberland Lodge, a smaller house back in Llandaff, that is now part of Howell’s School.

While there Dahl had the seminal experience at Mrs Pratchett’s sweet shop thought to have inspired his books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits.

In his autobiographical work Boy: Tales of Childhood he describes the store owner as “a small skinny old hag with a moustache on her upper lip, little piggy eyes and a mouth as sour as green gooseberry”.

Dahl and fellow pupils from the Llandaff Cathedral School he attended as a boy once played a trick on her by putting a dead mouse in a gobstopper jar. When she found the mouse she dropped the jar, which smashed in smithereens all over the shop floor.

The following morning the shop was closed and in Dahl’s over-active imagination the sweet shop owner had died of a heart attack and he had killed her.

Dahl and his fellow pupils were later punished by the school’s head for their indiscretion.

The sweet shop on Llandaff High Street is now the Great Wall Chinese restaurant and bears a blue plaque detailing its links to Dahl.

Christine Crean, Radyr branch manager of Michael Graham  Young, said Ty Gwyn’s current owners chemists Gerry and Ann Johns are selling because their children have grown up and flown the nest.


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