Bobby Brewster

I'm at my parents' house for the evening. I just got off the phone to Jen. She had sardine sandwiches for tea. I pointed out that sardine sandwiches were a particular favourite of mine and Bobby Brewster's when I was a kid. “Bobby who?” asked Jen.

Bobby Brewster: the brain-child of the children's author, H E Todd. He (or, more formally, H.E.) visited our school when I was about six years old. He read from his Bobby Brewster books, which we then had the opportunity to buy. I bought Bobby Brewster Detective. I loved the book, but, unfortunately, they had run out of signed copies by the time I got to the front of the queue. So my teacher, Miss Jones (who wore a mini skirt), forged his autograph for me. Damned if I know what happened to it (the book, that is, not the mini skirt).

If anyone out there has a copy of Bobby Brewster Detective, I'd love to borrow it. [I bought a second-hand copy off Amazon in June 2015.]

Filed under: Nonsense

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. As a young child i remember my mum reading Me the wonderfull bobby brewsters torch, and thinking that this was the most wonderful thing id ever heard, i wanted to have the same adventures as bobby so so much that every time we went to the countryside caravan park in northern ireland where my grandmother had a static my brother and i created adventures and boy did we have fun. One christmas morning we got out of bed and sneaked downstairs and started to open our gifts and can you guess what i got? A torch, not just any torch oh dear me no, it was a pifco lantern torch exactly the same as the one on the cover of my book. Recently i stated reading bobby to my 5 year old son and we went into the attic exploring, i knew that my torch was up there and still worked but he didnt, i opened the box and there it was, his face lit up, to him this wasnt just any torch, this was the actual bobby brewsters torch, and who am i to argue, after all maybe it really was bobby who left it for me all those years ago a christmas.

  2. I remember H.E.Todd visiting Leven Primary School in East Yorkshire, England in around 1971/1972. He seemed a decent chap. He read some stories which we all loved.I got his autograph but I can't find it now. Fond memories.

  3. H E TODD came to my primary school in Warmsworth Doncaster n the 1970's he signed us copies of his books but when my friends and I spent our whole lunch time making an autograph book for him to sign, he laughed at us and refused to sign them. Nice guy! Always loved his books though!

  4. I remember H.E TODD visiting my school in Hemel Hempstead and reading a story to us. He was brilliant at capturing his audience, had a loud deep voice ( but not frightening any of us.) Usually at story time you always had at least one child needing the loo, or messing about, but not on the day Mr Todd came in.
    He was magical I could have listened to him every day with those lovely stories.

  5. HE Todd came to my school in Newcastle upon Tyne I was beyond excited, I loved Bobby Brewster. He told us of his travels in Africa, and we all sang 'Amen' a song he'd heard out there. Must have been hilarious with a Geordie accent. 🙂 I'm. Kw a teacher myself, and I wish I had his gift for story telling. I'll never forget Bobby Brewster or HE Todd.

  6. I remember going to the library every week and running straight to the shelf to get Bobby Brewster book to take home. Bobby Brewsters Wallpaper was one I had bought for me by my dad Happy times. A love of stories acquired when young never leaves you

  7. H.E Todd visited our school (Minster Primary on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent) in the mid sixties. I was about 7 years old. He told some of his stories and had time for every child that had questions. He also helped us with writing our own stories. I went home after and wrote a few of my own and sent them to him. He replied thanking me and asking whether he could use some of the ideas I'd had in my own stories. A really nice man. I still have the letter he sent me.

  8. H E Todd came to my school in letchworth in the 70's the cuckoo clock story was my favourite. I bought a signed copy, lost it over time and bought one off ebay. You never know, i could now own my original copy again! Brilliant stories 😀

  9. H E Todd came to my school Saltersgate junior's Scawby Doncaster I bought 2 autographed books one for me one for my younger brother. I read them to my kids and I'm now saving them for any grandkids that may come along

  10. I remember Mr Todd coming to my school in Lochgilphead in the early 70's and we went along in the evening to listen to him tell his wonderful stories. He told me I reminded him of Bobby B. and that just made me love the adventures even more. I remember him being friendly and patient with us as we struggled to ask relevant questions. A memory I have retained after all these years is that he read to us in the 'television room' and I loved it.
    It was the first time I met a 'hero' and the old saying about never meeting them did not apply to me.
    I would hope that modern day children's authors do the same thing as I think it fired a lifelong love of reading in me.
    I turned out to be a bookbinder by trade and H E can claim some part in that too.

  11. HE Todd came to visit our school in Blackburn, West Lothian in 1974. He read us all some stories and told tales of his world travels, then played us a tape of some children in an African Village he'd visited, singing a song they'd written for him. I was too young to even know what an autograph was so I didn't ask him for one, but he certainly fired up all our young imaginations and inspired a whole generation of creative minds

  12. H E Todd came to visit our primary school (Burton Road, Neston, Wirral, Cheshire) in the 1970's.. I remember really enjoying listening to his stories and I still have his autograph to this day - He seemed like a really old man then so I'm glad to read he lived a long time after that!

  13. H.E. Todd came to Minterne Junior School, Sittingbourne, Kent in about 1978/79. What has always stuck with me is him telling us that "A story must always have a beginning, a middle and an end"!

    I found his autograph in an old autograph book the other day in my loft which led me to look him up online tonight.

    I remember calling the phone number where you could listen to stories on the phone - back in the day where you had to sit on the stairs to use a phone with a curly cable and a big round dial... 🙂

  14. I was incredibly excited when H E Todd came to Hill West Infants in Sutton Coldfield in 1971. I loved the books and he was a complete celebrity to me. My strongest memory of that school.

  15. One of my favourite memories was H.E. Todd visiting the library in Feltham. His storytelling was absolutely magical and it transported me to another world far from my own where everyday objects came to life. His storytelling truly inspired me to come back to the library and read every bobby brewster book they had and when I had exhausted then I found other authors and other subjects. He and 2 of ny teachers Mrs Gabener & Mr Sullivan gave me the appetite to read voraciously. I can not thank Mr Todd enough for his magical books and enthralling storytelling.

  16. H.E.Todd came to our library in I think 1964 which was in Burnley Lancashire. After reading stories to us all of us who visited from Hargher Clough School, he asked us to write our own Bobby Brewster story. We did this and my story The Paintbox. was sent to him and he had it published in his next book titled Bobby Brewster and the Ghost in 1966. I still have my signed copy.

  17. I remember H.E. Todd coming to the children's section of Heston Library to read the Bobby Brewster stories. I can't remember how old I was but I'm guessing it was around 1968/1969 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A happy, innocent time when we used our imaginations in the wonderful world of reading.

  18. So lovely to hear such lovely comments about Bobby Brewster.
    Does any one by any chance remember the one when he his stomach calls him and asks him to eat different food? I loved that one as a child but i don't know the title of the story to track it down. I would be so grateful if anyone remembers it too.

  19. Im 56 now and have vivid memories of Mr Todd coming into my primary school, Stoneleigh East Primary on Sparrow Farm Road , Stoneleigh ,Surrey.
    I remember sitting on the floor listening intently to his wonderful voice and enjoying every minute of his visit.
    I got my Son now 33 and my Grandson 10 into Booby Brewster books they so fabulously innocent and wonderful in an age where children just want to sit in front of an iPad and play shoot em up games ( fortnight).
    Wonderful writer and a lovely man and I thank him very much.

  20. While I was at John Aird Partially Sighted School in Amberley road off Harrow Road 1948-1953, H. E, Todd told us the story of Bobby Brewster's wristwatch. We all enjoyed it although none of us seemed to have heard of Bobby Brewster at the time . He seemed a pleasant unassuming man and he was a very good storyteller.. Good for him!

  21. Just been reminded of HE Todd visiting Ongar Place infants school in Addlestone, Surrey. Definitely peaked my interest in reading.

  22. Just like you all - BOBBY BREWSTER - was up there along side WINNIE THE POOH and PADDINGTON BEAR. Later I became a huge DOCTOR WHO fan.
    In my infants school - we got an illustrator visit of the MEG AND MOG books. What a disappointment - is all I could say.
    What I wouldn't have given for a visit by H. E. TODD - but I don't think my teachers were that bothered in his stories - or he was too expensive ?
    Yes - the advice of BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END - sounds great and magical. But it is rubbish. You can have an END at the BEGINNING - so how does that work ? Well, it is the magical STUFF OF STORY contained within those scenes.
    There is no such thing as BEGINNING - MIDDLE - END - just the first, middle, and last pages of the book.
    I have written a great FREE e-BOOK called - THE SIGN OF 4 - that explains all this.
    Love the BOBBY BREWSTER you-tube stories - thanks very much for posting - now I know what my hero sounded like !

  23. I can remember H.E. Todd coming to my library in Grove Park, London SE12. He made a real impression. I think he read the ‘Desk Diary’ story out of ‘Bobby Brewster’s Scarecrow.’ I told him that I’d borrowed and read all his books from the library. My dad later said that I should have said that I’d bought all his books as that would have made him happier! I doubt it though. He seems to have had such a connection with children.

  24. Just read in my old childhood diary that H E Todd came to my primary school (Carlton Road, Boston, Lincs ) on Wednesday 23rd May, 1979, so googled him. I wrote that I got his autograph, and that I ‘only had his autograph’ in my book (long gone now I guess). He must have been all over the country.

  25. I’m trying to put together an archive of H. E. Todd for my Masters in Children’s Literature. All these memories above are very useful. If anyone has any more I’d be really interested.

  26. I remember him coming to Forest Hill (London, SE23) library. I can't remember when but it was probably in the late 60's and I cannot remember what stories he told. But I do remember him inviting the kids to either write a Bobby Brewster story or write the beginning of one and leave it at the library so it could be forwarded on to him. Maybe he was looking for some ideas. Anyway me and my friend Graham wrote something and left it at the library. A week or so later there was a nice thank you letter pinned to children's library notice board from Mr Todd thanking us personally. Anyway not sure what I wrote and whether he used the material, but you never know. Didn't see any royalties....

  27. I remember H.E.Todd being present as a speaker for my primary school week away at Butlins in Minehead in around 1975/76. He talked to us about Bobby Brewster and the other characters in his books. We were able to ask him questions about the stories and the characters and he would ask us what we would like to see Bobby doing in future stories. Reading previous comments jogged my memory and I’m sure I got his autograph too but I have no idea where it might be now. Lovely memories!

  28. My wife, who is English, has just had sardines on toast and it got me thinking about Bobby Brewster. H.E.Todd visited my school in Hamilton, New Zealand, probably almost 50 years ago. My brother and I loved the stories and I particularly remember Bobby Bewster's Wallpaper. We had a couple of others but I don't recall which ones. Surprisingly, my wife had never heard of H.E.Todd or Bobby Brewster. She's a teacher and is thinking about reading or playing the audio books to her class. And so it goes on........

  29. A family quiz question to which the answer was 'sardines' got me on this train of thought. I remembered the name Bobby Brewster but not that of H.E. Todd, so thanks for reminding me! He didn't visit anywhere I was, but I recall him reading his own stories on BBC1's Jackanory programme(1968ish?) and letting us in on the secret that Bobby Brewster liked sardine sandwiches because he (Mr Todd) did. He then proceeded to eat one in front of us. An early insight into the authorial mind, I suppose!

  30. I remember H E Todd visiting Tadmarton C of E primary school Oxfordshire. Reading something from his bobby Brewster books, Something about conkers sticks in my mind.

  31. I remember Mr Todd visiting Rosebank Library in Johannesburg, South Africa (about 50 years ago). As a child I was so impressed and loved his story time so much. Now reading to my grandchild, from a very tatty copy of Bobby Brewster Torch.

  32. H.E. Todd must have had the patience of a saint to have visited all these schools! He came to mine at the time Abbey Road Primary in Sheffield probably around 1973/4 and there were rumours that he married one of the teachers there! I loved his books so much that I decided to like sardine sandwiches. Even though I didn’t really.

  33. I would love an audio version of these Bobby Brooster stories. I had a teacher who was Blind and he read them to us. I loved them.

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