“I love to learn and to share the excitement of discovery."

Shirley Harrison






Shirley Harrison
Writer & Researcher



Shirley Harrison’s professional life is rooted in newspaper and magazine journalism, broadcasting and public relations. She broadcast for Children’s Hour when still at school and was at the heart of the PR explosion, in London, in the days of Twiggy and Tommy Steele.

For five years she lived with her husband, John, on a Thames sailing barge at Chiswick but moved to the Sussex countryside when children began to arrive.

There, in the village of Hartfield, she met Sally Evemy, who was later to become her professional partner. Together they pioneered one of the first parent run pre-school playgroups in the country. Their fund-raising “Any Questions?” evenings and classical concerts were supported by celebrities such as Clement Freud, Patrick Moore, Denis Healey and Joyce Grenfell. With the funds raised, parents bought the derelict village railway station and adjoining land, converting the building themselves into a unique playschool. The opening ceremony was performed by Jenny Agutter, star of the film, “The Railway Children”. Today’s register shows that parents bring children from as far as eight miles away.

Eventually, Shirley’s curiosity about many of the people and events that crossed her path led her, inevitably, to another change of gear. She turned to writing books, exploring the by-ways and secret corners of history and the world around. She says, “I love to learn and to share the excitement of discovery.”

John died in 1983 and, and a few years later, Shirley re-met an old family friend, Duncan Field, one of the original playschool parents. They married and spent ten years living half in France and half in Sussex. Duncan and Shirley are currently residing in what the estate agent called a "three storey bungalow" in Newhaven.

Between them they have 8 children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren (and 1 more on its way)



designed by Alex Harrison