Carey > Family
Teddies running away

Family tree

Great GrandfatherThomas Carey Blyton, senior
Great GrandmotherMary Ann Hanly
Teddy running sideways
GrandfatherThomas Carey Blyton, junior
GrandmotherTheresa Mary Harrison
Great Aunt MayAlice May Blyton
Enid BlytonEnid Mary Blyton
[Enid Blyton Society]
Hanly Harrison Blyton
Florence Maud (Floss) Pullen
Carey Charles Blyton
Teddy running headlong  
Yvonne Blyton
Carey BlytonCarey Blyton
Mary BlytonMary Josephine Mills
Matthew James Blyton
Daniel Carey Blyton

Carey’s Forebears*

*Can you find all four bears on this page…?


Great Grandmother Mary AnnGreat Grandfather Thomas Carey (senior)Thomas Carey Blyton (senior) moved from Kent to Sheffield at some point during the 1870s. On 24th August 1864, whilst in Kent, he had married Mary Ann Hanly (who originated from County Tyrone, Ireland) and they had lived in Deptford, where they had their first four children: Bertha Hamilton (born in 1866/7), Sidney Charles (1867/8), Thomas Carey (1870) and Sybil Marianne (1871/2). Their fifth child, Alice May (1878) was born in Sheffield, so the move to Sheffield took place between 1871/2 and 1878.

The 1881 census shows the Blyton family living at 10 Asline Road. The head of the family is identified as Thomas Carey, age 41 (implying a birth year of 1839 or 1840, depending on whether his birthday occurred before or after Census day), born in Swinderby, Lincolnshire. Indeed, records in Lincolnshire indicate that a Thomas Carey Blyton was christened on 5th February 1840, his parents’ names being George and Elizabeth. His occupation at this time is stated as ‘Linen Draper’. His wife is identified as Marianne (Mary Ann), age 42 (birth year 1838/9). The five children are identified as Bertha Hamilton (age 14), Sidney Charles (age 13), Thomas Carey (junior, age 11), Sybil Marianne (age 9) and Alice May (Ć’age 2). The ‘occupation’ of all the children (with the exception of Alice May) is given as ‘Scholar’. Not all of these children are included in the tree above.

A decade later, the 1891 census shows the Blyton family living at 165 Aizlewood Road, a couple of miles south of Sheffield city centre. Thomas Carey (senior) is shown at age 51; other details are as before except that his occupation is stated as ‘Linen Draper’s Buyer’. Mary Ann is included, age 52, plus Thomas Carey (junior), age 21, unmarried and a Mercantile Clerk, plus Sybil Marianne, age 19 and Alice May, age 12. The two older brothers had presumably moved out of the family home by this time.

Great Aunt May

Great Aunt MayAlice May Blyton, known as May, was born on 14th April 1878 at Asline Road, Sheffield. The family later moved to 165 Aizlewood Road and finally to Machon Bank, where an 1895 Directory includes a listing for a Miss M. Blyton as a pianoforte teacher. May subsequently married Charles Needham Crossland, a steelworks representative, and much later they lived at 10 Meadway Drive, Dore (a suburb of southwest Sheffield) from the 1940s to her death in 1962. She and her husband had no children. She was still teaching music, and was described by a neighbour as friendly and having a whimsical sense of humour. It is known that when her great-nephew Carey took up piano at the age of 16, she gave him several volumes of music, including the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, the complete Chopin mazurkas etc.

Carey had fond memories of his Great Aunt May, including her gift to him, when he was about 6 or 7, of a small penknife “rather like a Swiss Army knife but very much smaller, with tortoiseshell fascias and with a large blade, a small blade, a corkscrew, a button hook, a ‘spike’ and a nail file.” He (much) later claimed that this present had been in virtual daily use for about 60 years!


Grandmother TheresaGrandfather Thomas Carey (junior)Thomas Carey Blyton (junior), May’s elder brother, was born in Deptford, Kent. In 1896 he married (in Sheffield) Theresa Mary Harrison, a milliner, daughter of a table fork maker, from a large family. They soon returned to London because of Thomas Carey’s employment with a cutlery firm. They initially lived in a small flat above a shop in Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, where daughter Enid Mary was born, but quickly moved to Chaffinch Road in Beckenham, Kent where a first son, Hanly Harrison, was born, followed by another move to Clockhouse Road where a second son (and final child), Carey Charles was born. Enid would grow up to become the famous children’s writer (although her father believed that she possessed a similar musical talent to her aunt, and hoped she would become a musician), and Hanly would marry and become Carey Blyton’s father.

Carey’s memories of his paternal grandmother Theresa are of someone who spoiled him as a child (she lived within walking distance). She would give him “sugar sandwiches and egg and tomato ‘mix’ on fried bread, much to my mother’s alarm.” He also recalls that she wore glasses with one lens frosted, of which he was rather scared. This, coupled with the fact that “she was a large woman,” made her a bit awesome to him.

Thomas Carey (junior), who was a well-read man with many interests (watercolour painting, writing poetry, playing the piano, foreign languages, photography… to mention just a few), decided that his future was not to be in cutlery and joined his two elder siblings (Bertha Hamilton and Sidney Charles) in the family ‘mantle warehousing’ business of Fisher and Nephew. Better pay and prospects enabled a move of house (still in Clockhouse Road) to a larger property with a bigger garden. Unfortunately, during the early years of the new century, Thomas and Theresa gradually drifted apart until, in 1910, Thomas moved out, having taken up with another woman. The children remained with Theresa but the split necessitated a move to a smaller house in Elm Road (still in Beckenham).

Thomas subsequently established a successful wholesale clothing business in the City of London and was able to pay private school fees for his children, as well as regularly sending money to support his family. He died of a heart attack, aged 50, while fishing the Thames. Theresa died in 1950 and was buried with her husband, even though they had lived apart for 40 years.

Elusive Aunt Enid

The famous Aunt, Enid BlytonEnid Blyton may have been Carey’s aunt, but given her well-documented emotional distance from even her own children it is unsurprising that she had little contact with less direct relatives. What is perhaps rather more surprising is that Enid and Carey struck up a close relationship through written correspondence and initiated a collaboration, with Carey setting several of Enid’s poems to music. The correspondence started in the late 1950s, when Carey was in his late 20s; the two had never previously met. Carey was progressing well in a promising career, but Enid was in the last decade of her creative life. Enid and Carey eventually met just a couple of times in person, in a private box at a theatre and for afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason. Their efforts resulted in a collection of unison songs for children, Mixed Bag, written between 1962 and 1963 and published by Boosey & Hawkes in 1965. There was also talk of writing a children’s opera together, but sadly those discussions came to nothing. Many years later, Enid’s daughter Imogen was very moved to discover that her mother had offered Carey advice and encouragement in her last years. As Carey recalled, “Imogen told me I must have been the only person her mother gave comfort and advice to in the whole of her life. Enid was always very distant and unloving to her children.”