Billy Bunter in the Liberties


Sir, – Paul Clements (An Irishman’s Diary, September 11th) brought me back many decades in time with his piece on the Billy Bunter series of books.

My mother, herself an avid reader, had enrolled me in the children’s public library in Kevin Street in Dublin’s Liberties to which I became a regular visitor.

My favourite books were the William series by Richmal Crompton, the Biggles series by WE Johns and, of course, the Billy Bunter series by Frank Richards. Indeed, it was the Bunter series that first led me into temptation.

One day, to my delight, I found, not one, but two Bunter books that I hadn’t read. The dilemma was about which one to take, as my ticket only permitted me to take one. I briefly considered (Bunter-style) of stuffing one down the front of my trousers, but then thought of the consequences of being found out.

So, reluctantly I took one, ran home and spent the day reading it, and returned later for the other one. The librarian, kindly but firmly, sent me away and told me to return the next day, which I did and succeeded in getting the other book.

As I left the library, I looked through the glass partition into the adult section of the library where people were allowed to borrow three books at a time, whereupon I decided that adulthood couldn’t come quickly enough. – Yours, etc,


Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.