Topics > People in History > Elinor M. Brent-Dyer (1894 - 1969)

Elinor M. Brent-Dyer (1894 - 1969)

Elinor M. Brent-Dyer was an author who wrote over a 100 children's books including her "Chalet School" and "La Rochelle" series. She was born in South Shields in 1894 and educated there, before training as a teacher in Leeds. She taught for a number of years, and in the 1920's briefly studied at the Newcastle Conservatoire of Music (a music academy established in 1898). Elinor moved to Hereford, where she had become full time writer by 1948. In 1957 she moved to Redhill, living with Phyllis Matthewman, who was also an author of children's books.

Elinor M. Brent-Dyer (6 April 1894 – 20 September 1969) was a children's author who wrote more than 100 books during her lifetime, the most famous being the Chalet School series.

Early life and education

Brent-Dyer was born Gladys Eleanor May Dyer on 6 April 1894, in South Shields. She was the only daughter of Charles Morris Brent-Dyer, a surveyor, and Eleanor Watson Rutherford. Her father left the family when she was three years old, and her mother remarried in 1913. In 1912, her younger brother Henzell died of meningitis.

Brent-Dyer was educated privately at a small school in South Shields until 1912, and shortly afterwards trained to teach at City of Leeds Training College. She taught a variety of subjects at both state and private schools, and ran a Girl Guide group. In the 1920s, she briefly studied music under Edgar Bainton at the Newcastle Conservatoire.


Brent-Dyer's first book, Gerry Goes to School, was published in 1922 and became the first of the La Rochelle series.

She was inspired to write her popular Chalet School series after holidaying in the Austrian Tyrol at Pertisau-am-Achensee. The first book in the series, The School at the Chalet, was published in 1923.

Although she was raised as an Anglican, she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1930.

In 1933, Brent-Dyer and her mother moved to Hereford, where Brent-Dyer was employed as a governess in Peterchurch. In 1938, she opened her own school, the Margaret Roper School, but it closed in 1948. She then dedicated all of her time to writing.

Following her mother's death in 1957, Brent-Dyer moved to Redhill to live with Phyllis Matthewman, who was also a children's novelist. She died there in 1969, and her final book was published posthumously the same year.

Chalet School series

(in reading order)

  1. The School at the Chalet
  2. Jo of the Chalet School
  3. The Princess of the Chalet School
  4. The Head-Girl of the Chalet School
  5. The Rivals of the Chalet School
  6. Eustacia Goes to the Chalet School
  7. The Chalet School and Jo
  8. The Chalet Girls in Camp
  9. The Exploits of the Chalet Girls
  10. The Chalet School and the Lintons
  11. The New House at the Chalet School
  12. Jo Returns to the Chalet School
  13. The New Chalet School
  14. The Chalet School in Exile
  15. The Chalet School Goes to It
  16. Highland Twins at the Chalet School
  17. Lavender Laughs in the Chalet School
  18. Gay From China at the Chalet School
  19. Jo to the Rescue
    • Mystery at the Chalet School
    • Tom Tackles the Chalet School
    • The Chalet School and Rosalie
  20. Three Go to the Chalet School
  21. The Chalet School and the Island
  22. Peggy of the Chalet School
  23. Carola Storms the Chalet School
  24. The Wrong Chalet School
  25. Shocks for the Chalet School
  26. The Chalet School in the Oberland
  27. Bride Leads the Chalet School
  28. Changes for the Chalet School
  29. Joey Goes to the Oberland
  30. The Chalet School and Barbara
  31. The Chalet School Does it Again
  32. A Chalet Girl from Kenya
  33. Mary-Lou of the Chalet School
  34. A Genius at the Chalet School
  35. A Problem for the Chalet School
  36. The New Mistress at the Chalet School
  37. Excitements at the Chalet School
  38. The Coming of Age of the Chalet School
  39. The Chalet School and Richenda
  40. Trials for the Chalet School
  41. Theodora and the Chalet School
  42. Joey and Co. in Tirol
  43. Ruey Richardson – Chaletian
  44. A Leader in the Chalet School
  45. The Chalet School Wins the Trick
  46. A Future Chalet School Girl
  47. The Feud in the Chalet School
  48. The Chalet School Triplets
  49. The Chalet School Reunion
  50. Jane and the Chalet School
  51. Redheads at the Chalet School
  52. Adrienne and the Chalet School
  53. Summer Term at the Chalet School
  54. Challenge for the Chalet School
  55. Two Sams at the Chalet School
  56. Althea Joins the Chalet School
  57. Prefects of the Chalet School

La Rochelle series

  • Gerry Goes to School
  • A Head Girl's Difficulties
  • The Maids of La Rochelle
  • Seven Scamps
  • Heather Leaves School
  • Janie of La Rochelle
  • Janie Steps In

Chudleigh Hold series

A loosely connected series of adventure books

  • Chudleigh Hold
  • The Condor Crags Adventure
  • Top Secret
  • Fardingales
  • The Susannah Adventure

Other works

  • A Thrilling Term at Janeways
  • Caroline the Second
  • The School by the River (1930)
  • The New House-Mistress
  • Judy the Guide
  • The Feud in the Fifth Remove
  • Carnation of the Upper Fourth
  • They Both Liked Dogs
  • The School by the River
  • The Little Marie-Jose
  • Elizabeth the Gallant
  • The Little Missus
  • Lorna at Wynyards
  • Stepsisters for Lorna
  • Kennelmaid Nan
  • Nesta Steps Out
  • Beechy of the Harbour School
  • Leader in Spite of Herself
  • The School at Skelton Hall
  • Trouble at Skelton Hall
  • Bess on Her Own in Canada
  • A Quintette in Queensland
  • Sharlie's Kenya Diary
  • Verena Visits New Zealand
  • Jean of Storms
  • The Lost Staircase
  • Monica Turns Up Trump
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