To Orwell Today,

Thank you for your prompt response.

YOU MISUNDERSTOOD THE MEANING OF MY FIRST PARAGRAPH. I was not blaming you in any way for typographical errors or omitting certain vital facts. I was blaming myself!!!!!

My excuse is that I don't like typing or writing long e-mails. Furthermore I very much regret that you interpreted my style as grumpy because this is completely contrary to the intention. I hold your research and website in the highest regard and that is why I offered my contact numbers to somebody I have never met. I prefer the phone to texts and webmail.

My objective was merely to start a thread on the location and origins of Animal Farm because I believe I had made a discovery which nobody else had done. In the end I have to say does it matter because the importance of Animal Farm is in the story and message, not its whereabouts.

Please accept once again my profuse apologies for the misunderstanding I have caused. I feel I still have a lot to learn from Eric Blair on the clarity of writing style. But we can't all be great thinkers and writers.

Anyhow thank you for providing an audience for my badly presented thoughts. And keep up the good work!!!!

-Tim Rothwell


If you Google Orwell at Preston Hall you will see citations which take you onto The Orwell Prize site. All his Diary Entries from August 1938 and thereafter are reproduced there. The references to Preston Farm I had in mind were dated August 17 and 19. They can also be accessed at but I think you need to know the particular date as part of the access code. I hope this helps. Once again I cannot apologise enough for the misunderstanding caused by my badly written e-mails. I am currently sitting in the corner with a Dunce's Cap on.

Greetings Tim,

I'm so sorry for misunderstanding your original comments but I do appreciate your apology and now, in turn, please accept my apology for the misunderstanding - and pass me the Dunce's Cap.

I've gone to Orwell's Diary on-line and looked up those entries you cite, and excerpt them here:

     Preston Hall, August 17, 1938 (Warm & fine, rather windy. The barley from the 22-acre field is not stacked yet, but the wheat is stacked & makes two stacks measuring so far as I can judge it 30 by 18 x 24 (high) & 18 x 15 x 20 (high). If these estimates are correct, this works out at 14,040 cubic feet of stack for about 14 acres of ground. Allowing 1 ton per acre, it seems 1000 cubic feet of stack represent a ton of grain. NB. To check when the whole field is stacked. Catmint, peppermint & tansies full out. Ragwort & willow-herb going to seed. A few ripe blackberries. Elder-berries beginning to turn purple. Oak planks etc. made from the boughs instead of the trunk is known as bastard oak & is somewhat cheaper. Disused railway sleepers here sold off at 1 = 1 = 0 10cwt. This probably works out at about 1/- each, ie. 2d a foot.)

     Preston Hall, August 19, 1938 (Ref, the stacks in the cornfield. Actually the area under wheat & barley was about the same, & the crop makes 4 stacks, 2 of 30 x 18 x 24 (high) & 2 of 18 x 15 x 20 (high.) This works out at about 28,000 cubic feet of stack for 22 acres. Yesterday fine and rather windy. A fair number of ripe blackberries. Elderberries changing colour rapidly. Hazel nuts almost fully formed. Valerian & mulleins over.) [end quoting from Orwell Diary]

Here's another entry from Preston Hall, written after Orwell returned from a visit to his parents in Southwold, and a week before he was discharged and set sail for Morocco. Once again he mentions the snake he and his dog Marx came upon in their previous walk on the grounds. He also mentions that the hop-pickers have arrived, no doubt remembering his own days as a hop-picker in Kent, as described in his 1933 and 1935 books DOWN & OUT IN PARIS & LONDON and A CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER respectively:

     Preston Hall, August 25, 1938 (Everything in Suffolk is much more dried-up than in Kent. Until the day we arrived there had been no rain for many weeks & various crops had failed. Near S'wold saw several fields of oats & barley being harvested which had grown only 1' or 18" high. Ears nevertheless seemed normal. Wheat crop all over the world said to be heavy. A bedstraw hawk-moth found in our back garden & mounted by Dr Collings [Blairs' family doctor in Suffolk]. Evidently a straggler from the continent. Said to be the first seen in that locality for 50 years. Little owl very common round here. Brown owl does not seem to exist. Dr C. says the snake I caught was the "smooth snake", non-poisonous & not very common. Today hot again. Gipsies beginning to arrive for the hop-picking. As soon as they have pitched their caravans the chickens are let loose & apparently can be depended on not to stray. The strips of tin for cloth-pegs are cut of biscuit boxes. Three people were on the job, one shaping the sticks, one cutting out the tin & another nailing it on. I should say one person doing all these jobs (also splitting the pegs after nailing) could make 10-15 pegs an hour. Another white owl this evening.) [end quoting from Orwell Diary]

I greatly appreciate your contribution to ORWELL TODAY of your discovery of the Preston Hall Manor Farm similarities to Orwell's ANIMAL FARM. If other remembrances come to mind, please consider compiling them in a series of short emails (which will add up to a long email) or, failing that, we can communicate by phone and I'll take notes.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

UPDATE: Reader Jane is researching Orwell's connection to Preston Hall as inspiration for "Animal Farm"






Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~