Agatha's Greenway

Agatha Christie (known locally by her married name 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 relaxed surroundings.

Young life

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."
- Agatha Christie

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.
Agatha Christie and her family spent many happy holidays at Greenway
Agatha Christie and her family sat outside of their holiday home Greenway
National Trust / The Christie Archive

Requisitioning Greenway

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. You can see evidence of the Coastguard's occupation of Greenway in the Library; the frieze was painted by Lieutenant Marshall Lee. After the war, Greenway once again became a holiday home for the Mallowans and the venue for family and friends to gather.

After Agatha

In 1959 Agatha's daughter, Rosalind Hicks, purchased the house from her mother, and moved in after the deaths of Agatha in 1976 and Max in 1978. Rosalind and her husband lived at Greenway, developing the garden and introducing a collection of rare and tender plants. They decided to give Greenway to the National Trust in 2000, and the garden was opened to the public that year. Rosalind and Anthony Hicks lived at Greenway until their deaths in 2004 and 2005.