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Alison Uttley, English author, was born on December 17th 1884, first child of Henry and Hannah Taylor, at Castle Top Farm near Cromford in Derbyshire.

She started school in the village of Lea when she was seven and as a child revelled in the wonderful festival traditions of Victorian England, memories of which she later recaptured in some of her books. Whilst at school she also developed a love of science, and won a scholarship to read physics at Manchester University. In 1906 she became only the second woman honours graduate of the university.

Her husband, James Arthur Uttley, died in 1930, his health broken by service in the First World War. She turned to writing as a means of supporting herself and her young son. 'The Country Child' was published in 1931 and was followed by a flood of books mainly for children which revealed her great love and knowledge of the countryside and country lore.

Many of her books were in the Beatrix Potter style and feature much loved characters such as Little Grey Rabbit, Sam Pig and Little Red Fox. Later, she also wrote books for older children and adults and produced over one hundred titles, for which was awarded an honorary Litt.D. by Manchester University in 1970.[1]

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