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Agatha Christie (known locally as Mrs Mallowan) spent many happy years at Greenway, her beloved holiday home. She and her family would retreat here once her latest book was complete, to enjoy each other's company in the beautiful and relaxed surroundings of this picturesque South Devon spot.
Agatha Christie (née Miller) was born in Torquay and grew up there in a Victorian mansion called Ashfield. As a local girl, Agatha enjoyed all aspects of an English Riviera social life: roller-skating along the pier; going to dances, dinners and balls; and bathing in the sea.
A dream house
Agatha couldn't resist buying Greenway, a place she had known about since childhood. In her autobiography she explained 'One day we saw that a house was up for sale that I had known when I was young... So we went over to Greenway, and very beautiful the house and grounds were. A white Georgian house of about 1780 or 90, with woods sweeping down to the Dart below, and a lot of fine shrubs and trees - the ideal house, a dream house.'
Making themselves at home
She and her second husband, Max Mallowan, soon became very attached to the place, and used it as their holiday home. They spent time here in the spring, late summer and often Christmas with family and friends. They took the advice of a young architect to make some changes to the house. They were also keen gardeners, and quickly became interested in the existing planting schemes. Their time at Greenway was interrupted by the Second World War, when the house was requisitioned and used first to house child evacuees and then from 1944 to 1945 by the US Coastguard. After the war, Greenway once again became a holiday home for the Mallowans and the venue for family and friends to gather.