Old Catton lies approximately one mile to the north
of Norwich. Originally it was a distinct village but is
now part of the suburbs of the city.
Anna Sewell lived at
'The White House' at 125, Spixworth Road when she wrote her
classic children's story Black Beauty. Despite
being for children, it is a harrowing tale of man's
cruelty towards horses.
Anna Sewell's House
She was in her late fifties when she wrote the book and
received £20 for the rights. Amazingly, by the time she
died - only five months after the book was published -
100,000 copies had already been sold. The book was
published by the Norwich firm Jarrold's.
It is said that the model for 'Black Beauty' was a horse
called Black Bess which her brother Philip used to ride
from Old Catton to Dudwick Park at
Buxton each week. Anna's grandparents owned a farm
at Buxton and it was here that she first learnt to
Black Beauty was sub titled The Autobiography of a Horse
and is written in the first person through the eyes
of 'Black Beauty'. Here is the opening: